Tennessee Inproving In Overall Health–But Not Much

Tennessee has shown marked improvements in 12 measures of overall health in the last five years, according to a newly released report, but with a ranking of 48th in sedentary lifestyle among all states, most Tennesseans need to “get moving” to make more progress. The United Health Foundation’s 23rd annual America’s Health Rankings report lists Tennessee at 39th overall this year. The state moved up two spots from a recalculated 41st in 2011 in the foundation’s evaluation and measures of how states perform in different categories. Tennessee did show significant improvements in the rankings over a five-year period. During the last half-decade Tennessee moved out of the bottom ten in four measures: smoking, obesity, high school graduation rates and infectious diseases. The state also recorded statistically significant improvements in the areas of infant mortality, low infant birth weight, preventable hospitalizations, cardiovascular deaths, cancer deaths, air pollution, occupational fatalities and violent crime. In addition to the low ranking for sedentary lifestyle, Tennessee was rated 35th for obesity and 44th for the closely related prevalence of diabetes. The data also show, despite improvements over the past five years, some 11.2 percent of the state’s adult population has been diagnosed with diabetes, compared with 9.5 percent nationally.