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California Ranks 22nd in National Health Study

The new report says the state has a low number of smokers but a high rate of infectious diseases.

California ranked as the 22nd healthiest state in the U.S. in 2012, according to a report released Tuesday by the United Health Foundation.

Vermont ranked as the healthiest state, Hawaii came in second and New Hampshire in third. Louisiana and Mississippi tied for last place. Although Californians don’t smoke as much as others and there is a lower prevalence of obesity and sedentary lifestyle in the state, there are also high levels of air pollution and high incidents of infectious disease that contribute to the lower ranking.

Here are some of the findings:

  • More than 6.7 million adults in California are obese, and 5.4 million lead a sedentary lifestyle.
  • More than 2.5 million adults in the state have diabetes.
  • In the past year, the incidence of infectious disease increased from 8.5 to 17.0 cases per 100,000 population.
  •  In the past 5 years, the rate of preventable hospitalizations decreased from 63.1 to 51.9 discharges per 1,000 Medicare enrollees.
  •  In the past 10 years, the rate of cardiovascular deaths decreased from 332.9 to 250.4 deaths per 100,000 population.

In California, African Americans are more likely to be obese than whites, 37.7 percent versus 21.6 percent. A sedentary lifestyle is more common among Hispanics, 27 percent, than other groups.

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