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Heart-Healthy Facts: the Healthiest and Unhealthiest States


WRITTEN BY: Craig Sturgill

UPDATED: MAY 27, 2022 | 2 MIN READ

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., so heart disease prevention is essential. It’s important to keep your heart healthy, especially as you age. We took a deep dive to determine which states were the most heart-healthy (and which were the unhealthiest) so check out these heart-healthy facts.

Heart-Healthy Facts Table of Contents

What Are the Most Heart-Healthy States?

Although the U.S. is one of the wealthiest countries in the world and spends the most on healthcare, according to Statista, it still struggles with a high rate of heart disease. But in some areas, people are healthier than in others. Let’s look at which states are the healthiest.

Vermont

Vermont is one of the most heart-healthy states. It has an obesity rate of 26.6%, the seventh-lowest in the country. Physical activity is common in Vermont, with 89% of residents reporting daily exercise. At 15.1%, that state comes in at 21st place for adult smoking rates, and they have one of the highest public health funding in the United States.

Utah

At a rate of 2.4%, Utah has the lowest coronary heart disease rate of any state. It’s considered one of the most heart-healthy states because young people are less likely to have to worry about heart disease prevention. Only 18.5% of residents do not exercise regularly, and as their median household income is high, residents can afford regular medical care, health insurance, and organic food.

Colorado

One heart-healthy fact that rings true is Colorado is one of the healthiest states in the U.S. They have the lowest adult obesity rate at 23.8%, and a whopping 81% of residents report being physically active. Only 7% of residents have diabetes too, the lowest percentage in the United States.

Which States Aren’t Very Heart-Healthy?

Just like some states are considered heart-healthy, some states are on the other side of the spectrum. Let’s look at which states are the least heart-healthy.

West Virginia

West Virginia might need to focus more on heart disease prevention as it has the highest rate of coronary heart disease in the country. One of their heart-health struggles comes from a state-wide obesity rate of 37.7%. In addition, there is a lack of healthcare access and low activity levels, which all contribute to arteriosclerotic heart disease.

Kentucky and Arkansas

Arkansas and Kentucky are tied for the second-least heart-healthy states with a 6.3% coronary heart disease rate. Like with other states at the bottom of the list, preventative healthcare, obesity, and lack of regular exercise contribute to the problem in these states. 

Louisiana and Alabama

Louisiana is next on the list of the least heart-healthy states. They hold an age-weighted score of 4.8% and a 6% rate of coronary heart disease. Alabama isn’t much better, though, with a coronary heart disease rate of 6.1%.

Different Types of Heart Disease

Many cardiovascular problems come with heart disease. In addition, some symptoms and conditions fall under many different types of heart disease.

What are the different types of heart disease?

  • Congenital heart defects – heart irregularities that are present at birth
  • Arrhythmia – a heart rhythm abnormality
  • Heart infections – infections caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites
  • Atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries
  • Coronary artery disease – is caused by plaque buildup in the heart’s arteries
  • Cardiomyopathy – causes the heart’s muscle to weaken or grow hard

Which type of heart disease is the most common?

Coronary Heart Disease is the most common form of heart disease. It’s caused when the arteries supplying the blood either narrow or harden from plaque buildup.

When this happens, your risk of having a heart attack increases greatly. Fortunately, regular checkups can help your doctor detect the early warning signs of coronary heart disease. Use this annual physical exam checklist to ensure you’re getting the preventative care you need.

5 Tips for heart disease prevention

Heart disease prevention is possible by taking control of certain aspects of your life. In addition, there are ways of lowering your chance of developing heart disease by decreasing risk factors. Heart disease prevention can happen in the following ways:

  1. Reduce stress
  2. Work towards lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol
  3. Eat a heart-healthy diet – limit processed foods, red meats, and sodium
  4. Exercise regularly
  5. Plan regular doctor visits and an annual physical exam

Heart-Healthy FAQs

What’s the healthiest state in the United States?

Colorado is considered to be the healthiest state in the U.S. because 81% of residents are physically active. The state also has a low rate of heart disease and the smallest percentage of people with diabetes.

What’s the least healthy state in the United States?

Alabama is considered to be one of the least healthy states in the U.S. because there is a low rate of physical activity and a high rate of coronary heart disease. 

Which state has the lowest heart disease rate?

Utah has the lowest coronary heart disease rate in the United States at 2.4%. 

What state has the most heart problems?

According to the World Population Review, Mississippi continually comes in as the unhealthiest state in the United States. The state has the highest obesity rate in the country, at 39.5%, and about 32% of the state’s population gets no regular exercise.

What’s the healthiest city in the United States?

San Francisco, California, is considered the number one healthiest city in the United States. That’s because of their physical and mental health, and access to healthcare coverage.

Heart-Healthy Facts: The Bottom Line

The fact is, heart disease prevention is important regardless of where you live, and the first step to leading a heart-healthy lifestyle is to talk to your doctor and determine what changes you need to make. Before you do that, make sure you have the best health insurance possible.

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