NJ falls in nationwide health rankings
New Jersey has dropped out of the top 10 healthiest states in the country, but is still making strides in certain areas, according to the latest report from United Health Foundation.
The group's America's Health Rankings listed New Jersey as the 11th healthiest state -- still much better than New Jersey's worst showing at No. 25. The state has been one of the top sixth in improving its health over the last 25 years.
The report cited a spike in obesity and a 71 percent increase in drug deaths in the Garden State. It also noted a large health disparity between those who have graduated from high school and those who have not.
New Jersey ranked 27th among the states for physical inactivity.
"Twenty-four percent of the population in New Jersey gets no exercise other than getting up and going to work," said Dr. Reed Tuckson of the foundation.
Given the pleasant ranking, however, New Jersey's positives appear to outweigh its negatives.
New Jersey posted the fifth-lowest rate of both smoking and infectious disease. The state ranked second overall for dental care availability, and sixth for reducing the infant mortality rate.
Nationwide, the average American's life expectancy of 78.8 years is an all-time high.
Hawaii took the title of healthiest state, followed by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Utah. Mississippi ranked last, preceded by Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky and Oklahoma.