The United Health Foundation released its annual report Wednesday ranking the health of individual states. For the second year in a row Utah came out as number six in the nation for overall health.
The comprehensive assessment has a 24-year history and is based on a state-by-state analysis of 27 factors ranging from personal behaviors to how decisions by local officials create a culture of health in the state.
"This year, nationally we did notice that after several years of making little to no progress in improving the overall healthiness of the nation, some very important key indicators are moving in a positive direction," said Reed Tuckson, external senior medical advisor to the United Health Foundation. "So there is encouragement that maybe we are starting to turn a corner to getting a much better, healthy nation."
Tuckson said some national strides include a drop in the rates of smoking and physical inactivity and a leveling off of the obesity rate, which has been steadily rising since 1998.
Utah ranked number one in multiple areas, including the lowest percentage of smokers and fewest deaths from cancer; it also came in at number two in least amount of physical inactivity.
Though Utah is among the leaders in multiple areas of health, there are many places for improvement. Utah was ranked number 45 in the nation for drug-related deaths and 50th for Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough.
"That is a major issue, which sticks out like a sore thumb compared to all the other areas where you are so clearly leading the way," said Tuckson.
Tuckson also said that though Utah currently ranks sixth in obesity, the rate is still above 24% which he believes can be improved.
For more information about the study, visit the website.