Massage therapists see clients at varying levels of health—from those experiencing chronic conditions to top athletes. A new study parses health information for Americans according to geographic region, and ranks all 50 U.S. states from healthiest to least-healthy.

America’s Health Rankings—2008 Edition looked at a variety of factors to determine the health of Americans. Those included air pollution, prevalence of smoking and binge drinking, violent crime, infectious disease, public health funding, children in poverty, immunization coverage, high school graduation, healthy life expectancy, infant mortality rate, cancer deaths, cardiovascular deaths, cancer deaths and percent of people who are obese.

Vermont is the healthiest state, followed in descending order by Hawaii, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Utah. The unhealthiest state is Louisiana, followed in ascending order by Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

The authors noted three themes in the report:
1. Access to quality health care varies widely among Americans;
2. The disparities in access to quality health care are not decreasing, and gaps between groups have not been reduced; and
3. The problem of lack of insurance is a major barrier to
reducing these health disparities.

America’s Health Rankings—2008 Edition was coordinated by the United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Association and the Partnership for Prevention, and was funded by the United Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization.

The report is available in its entirety here.