Massachusetts Once Again Named Healthiest State in Nation

Health

Bay State received top marks in categories such as access to health care, housing and transportation.

Five runners climb a walkway connecting Massachusetts Avenue and the Esplanade. Blake Nissen/The Boston Globe

For the second year in a row, Massachusetts has been named the healthiest state in the nation, according to a study by Boston University’s School of Public Health and digital health company Sharecare. In particular, Bay State excelled in access to health care, housing, and transportation.

Hawaii was ranked second by the study, followed by New Jersey, Maryland and New York. The closest New England state to Massachusetts was Connecticut at number eight on the list. Maine was the lowest-ranked New England state at number 37. The five lowest-ranked states were Alabama, Kentucky, West Virginia, Arkansas and Mississippi.

The annual study, known as the Sharecare Community Well-Being Index, measures well-being across physical, financial, social and community factors. “Social determinants” such as access to food, resources, health care, economic security, housing and transportation are also measured. Essentially, a broad picture of America’s health is painted by combining information about individual health with community health.

Data was collected from counties, metropolitan areas, states, specific subpopulations, and underserved healthcare communities. Around 500,000 people were interviewed. The Sharecare Wellness Index has collected over 4 million surveys since 2008.

Massachusetts had the top ten scores in eight of the 10 areas measured in the study. The state ranked second in access to health care, second in housing and transportation, third in sense of purpose, third in financial well-being, fourth in physical fitness, fifth in well-being -individual social being, fifth for the community and eighth for access to food.

Massachusetts’ lowest ratings were for economic security and access to resources. Economic security status is determined by employment rates, labor force participation, number of people covered by health insurance, and household income above the poverty line. Access to resources is determined by the “amount of libraries and religious institutions per 10,000 population, employment rates of people over 65, and the presence of grocery stores within 20 miles,” according to the study.

This is the third year that Sharecare and BU have joined forces on the study. In recent years, there has been a greater focus on community wellness and the relationship between individual health and community health, said Kimberly Dukes, executive director of the Boston University School of Public Health Biostatistics & Epidemiology Data Analytics Center. the Boston Globe.

Dukes is part of the group that formulated the study. In the years to come, Dukes told the World that the researchers plan to expand the study to include climate change and Medicare/Medicaid data.

Toya J. Bell