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Arizona ranks 30th nationally in overall health

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona ranked 30th nationally in overall health based on 33 indicators, according to the United Health Foundation.

The foundation’s America’s Health Rankings Annual Report determined scores based on five categories: behaviors, community and environment, outcomes, policy and clinical care.

According to the report, the state’s strengths were its relatively low cancer death rate, occupational fatality rate and prevalence of low birth weight.

The state’s biggest weaknesses were its low rates of high school graduation and mental health providers, as well as its high levels of air pollution.

“It [Arizona] ranks 43rd in the nation for high school graduation, and we know that’s a very important marker for how healthy somebody’s likely to be throughout the course of their lifetime,” Dr. Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Thursday.

The report included these findings for Arizona:

  • Smoking increased by 11 percent in the past two years.
  • Children in poverty decreased by 23 percent in the past five years.
  • The rate of chlamydia cases increased by 43 percent in the past five years.
  • The rate of mental health providers increased by 6 percent in the past year.
  • The rate of cancer deaths decreased by 10 percent in the past 25 years.
  • The number of adults reporting “frequent mental distress” increased by 10 percent in the past two years.

Last year, Arizona was ranked No. 31 in the report.

Arizona’s best year for health was in 2004, when it was ranked 23rd. Its worst year was 1997, when it was ranked 36th.

Hawaii was ranked as the nation’s healthiest state, while Louisiana came in last place.

The report found that, nationally, the obesity rate has reached an all-time high, and the suicide rate has increased by 16 percent since 2012.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Grisdelda Zetino contributed to this report.

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