For the fourth year running, Minnesota is the healthiest state in the nation, at least according to the United Health Foundation’s annual ranking. Casadian states were mostly better than average, but not by much:

  • Washington ranked 15th
  • Oregon and Idaho tied for 19th
  • Montana ranked 22nd with California close behind at 23rd.
  • Alaska ranked 31st, the only state partially in the Northwest that did worse than the national average.

Interestingly, Idaho posted the nation’s second largest one-year health decline, a worsening that researchers attributed to rising obesity, increased rates of occupational injuries, and the number of reported “poor physical health days.”

In happier news, Oregon, California, and Alaska were all in the top five states for health improvements over the period from 1990 to 2006.

Of course, there’s lots more to tease apart with a study like this (see media coverage here and here). But to me the biggest questions are simply:

  1. Given that Minnesota has been one of the top two healthiest states for the past 17 consecutive years, what is that state doing right?
  2. And what can other states do to replicate Minnesota’s success?

Any thoughts?