North Carolina slipped to 35th place nationwide in the United Health Foundation’s annual survey of Americans’ health.
The rankings compare states to each other by a variety of measures culled from federal databases.
The nation’s healthiest state is Hawaii, which edged out Vermont this year. The poorest health ranking went to Mississippi, at the bottom of a pack of other Southern rural states: Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama and West Virginia.
The health rankings are based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Medical Association, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Education and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
On the upside, North Carolina has a high immunization rate for children and low incidence of binge drinking.
The foundation also noted that in the past 5 years, two other indicators of poor public health significantly improved: North Carolina’s air pollution decreased 34 percent and preventable hospitalizations came down 25 percent.