FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Connecticut was ranked the seventh-healthiest state in the country for the second year in a row in an annual national study conducted by the United Health Foundation.
The rankings are based on the number of people in a given U.S. state who smoke, are obese, are physically inactive and have diabetes. High school graduation rates, disease prevention, drug use and drinking are other factors weighed in the ranking.
Connecticut ranked among the best states in the country for a low prevalence of smoking, but has seen a steady increase in obesity over the last 20 years -- much like the rest of the country.
The number of inactive adults in Connecticut has also dropped in the past year. In addition, Connecticut saw a decrease in cardiovascular-related deaths and low infant birth weight.
An area of concern for Connecticut, according to the study, is the disparity in healthiness between residents who graduated high school and those who didn't. 60.3 percent of adults aged 25 years and older with at least a high school education report their health is very good or excellent compared to only 26.9 percent with less than a high school education, resulting in a gap of 33.4 percent.
Hawaii ranked as the healthiest state in the nation, followed by Vermont, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Utah, respectively, before Connecticut.
Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana ranked as the least healthy states.