Louisiana among the unhealthiest states in the nation

A high number of smokers, a low rate of physical activity and high obesity rates all added up, to weigh Louisiana down on the list of America's Health Rankings.  The Bayou State is 48th in the annual report which is released by the United Health Foundation.

According to the UHF, Louisiana ranks 46th in the country for the number of smokers and one million people in Louisiana are not physically active.

Each year...researchers measure factors affecting behavior, environment and health care policies in each state to get the nation's overall health status.  In the report's 24 years, the highest Louisiana has ever ranked is 47.

A positive note for the state, we do rank high when it comes to immunizations.

"What this tells me as a public health person is that you have an infrastructure for public health that can be built upon to help solve other problems," said Reed Tuckson, M.D. of the UHF.

While Louisiana seems to be stuck in an unhealthy rut, there is good news for nationwide trends.

"We are noting nationally that the smoking rates are coming down finally from 21.2 percent to 19.6 percent," said Tuckson. "We're also noting that the physical inactivity rate, the couch potato rate is now decreasing."

The report also shows that obesity rates have leveled out nationwide, showing no increase over last year which Tuckson says is a sign the country is turning a corner in its health.

Arkansas and Mississippi rounded out the bottom of the list at 49 and 50, respectively.  Hawaii was ranked number one.

More information can be found here.

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