I found the coolest interactive map online, which ranks the health of the states in the U.S. The map can be digitally tilted to various angles of viewing to show the healthiest state raised high and the worst state sunken in. The information is based on a study conducted by the United Health Foundation. According to the full 2011 report, "first published in 1990, America's Health Rankings provides the longest running state-by-state analysis of our country's health and the factors that affect it."
Based on this magical map, I learned that the top five healthiest states, starting with most healthy, are Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Hawaii, and Massachusetts. The five lowest ranking states, with the worst listed first, are Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Alabama.
The overall rankings are based on a variety of factors, from cholesterol, diet, and blood pressure, to infant mortality, occupational fatalities, and infectious disease, to air pollution and percentage of children in poverty.
The map shows not only the overall rankings, but also the rankings for each individual category used for the study. For example, with one click on the category list, one can learn that Wyoming currently enjoys the least air pollution, whereas California has the most. And Maine experiences the least violent crime, while Nevada has the most.
Another cool feature of this map is the ability to view various years by scrolling across the timeline on the bottom of the screen. For example, while Vermont is ranked 1st in overall health this year, a quick slide of the timeline shows it was ranked 4th in 2008.
The full report on the findings from the study that led to the creation of this map can be found here. There are also several interesting commentaries found here. I think this is a great resource for nonprofit organizations, governments, companies, and individuals in various states to figure out what are the specific factors affecting their populations and to cater actions towards these issues. Check out your state!