(UPI) --Vermont, for the sixth consecutive year, ranks as the healthiest U.S. state, while Mississippi and Louisiana tied for last place, a non-profit group said.
The United Health Foundation, established by health insurer UnitedHealth Group, used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Census Bureau and other sources involving 24 measures of health, including tobacco use, alcohol abuse, exercise, immunizations, premature birth rates, cancer and heart disease rates.
Dr. Reed V. Tuckson, medical adviser at the United Health Foundation said as a nation, the United States made extraordinary gains in longevity over the past decades, but as individuals, health is regressing -- Americans are living longer but are sicker.
The report also found:
-- Obesity increased 137 percent from 11.6 percent of the adult population from the 1990 report to 27.5 percent in 2011. More than 25 percent of Americans are obese -- more than 30 pounds overweight.
-- In the past year, U.S. smoking decreased from 17.9 percent to 17.3 percent in adults, the lowest in 22 years from a high of 29.5 percent in 1990.
-- Children living in poverty are challenged by lack of access to healthcare, limited availability of healthy foods, constrained physical activity, limited access to educational opportunities and stressful living conditions. Child poverty went from 17.4 percent of children reported in 2007 to 21.5 percent of children last year.
-- Diabetes diagnosis was significantly higher than it was five years ago.