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Kentucky Ranks 47th in Health, Report Says

Erica Peterson
Credit Erica Peterson / WFPL

Kentucky is the 47th healthiest state in the U.S., according to a United Health Foundation report released Thursday.

The state's low marks were attributed to a high prevalence of smoking, a high percentage of childhood poverty and a high rate of preventable hospitalizations, the report said.

Mississippi ranked 50th, followed by Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. Hawaii topped the list as the healthiest state in the country. Indiana ranked 37th.

Kentucky ranked 45th last year. The United Health Foundation is a non-profit focused on the  health workforce and the wellbeing of communities. 

The report ranks Kentucky as having the second highest smoking rate in the country at 26.5 percent compared to West Virginia at 27.3 percent. Overall, the country's smoking rate has decreased 36 percent since 1990, from 29.5 percent to 19 percent, according to the report.

Kentucky has the fifth-highest obesity rate in the country at 33.2 percent, the report said.

One of the contributing factors of obesity is a lack of physical activity. Kentuckiansare less active than the majority of the country. Nationwide, 23.5 percent of adults report no physical activity, compared to 27.4 percent of

The report said Americans are living longer, but their quality of life is suffering due to the rise in obesity and other chronic conditions.

The obesity rate has more than doubled in the last 25 years, from 11.6 percent of adults in 1990 to 29.4 percent of adults today.

The state also has the highest rate of children in poverty at 31.8 percent.

But all is not grim for Kentuckians. The state ranks 11th for having a low prevalence of binge drinking. Kentucky also got better rankings in categories such as violent crimes and immunization coverage among children.

Copyright 2014 89.3 WFPL News Louisville

Ja'Nel Johnson covers community health for WFPL News.
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