It’s that time of year again…for the rankings of the healthiest (and unhealthiest) states in America.

The United Health Foundation’s 2014 America’s Health Rankings reviews the status of the nation’s health, state by state. For the past 25 years, the United Health Foundation, along with the American Public Health Association and the Partnership for Prevention, has been crunching data to reveal the nation’s health strengths and weaknesses.

This year, the good news is that there’s been progress on a number of health habits such as smoking cessation and increased child immunization rates. Life expectancy is also the highest it’s ever been. But the bad news is that obesity rates continue to climb, while physical activity slows down.

Read: Americans ambivalent about losing weight

But let’s focus on the good news first. Here are the top 10 healthiest states in the nation for 2014.

nebraska

10. Nebraska

Obesity rate: 29.6 percent (23rd highest)
Uninsured rate: 11.3 percent (16th lowest)
Physicians per 100,000: 118.5 (25th highest)
Percentage visiting dentist in 2012: 63.4 (16th highest)

Nebraska has a low rate of drug deaths and high immunization coverage among children. Also on the plus side, in the past year, preventable hospitalizations fell 13 percent from 63.8 to 55.8 per 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries. However, in the past 2 years, diabetes increased by 10 percent from 8.4 percent to 9.2 percent of adults.

Photo: Getty Images

9. North Dakota

Obesity rate: 31 percent (13th highest)
Uninsured rate: 10.2 percent (10th lowest)
Physicians per 100,000: 123.6 (21st highest)
Percentage visiting dentist in 2012: 56.1 (25th lowest)

No change here: North Dakota was also ranked the ninth healthiest state in 2013. The ranking for senior health in North Dakota was 18th in 2014. In the past two years, obesity increased 12 percent from 27.8 percent to 31 percent of adults. In the past two years, public health funding jumped 40 percent from $78 to $109 per person.

Photo: Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota. By Michael Oswald.

 

colorado

8. Colorado

Obesity rate: 21.3 percent (the lowest)
Uninsured rate: 14.4 percent (18th highest)
Physicians per 100,000: 120.7 (24th highest)
Percentage visiting dentist in 2012: 69.4 (11th highest)

The Centennial State has the lowest obesity rate in the nation, assuring its ranking among the tp 10 healthiest states. In the past year, diabetes decreased 12 percent from 7.4 percent to 6.5 percent of adults, the lowest rate in the nation. Similarly, cardiovascular deaths have decreased by 41 percent from 332.4 to 197.1 deaths per 100,000 population. On the down side, the state’s uninsured rate is on the high end of the spectrum. There’s also a high prevalence of binge drinking in the state.

Photo: Rocky Mountains, www.freedigitalphotos.net

7. New Hampshire

Obesity rate: 26.7 percent (16th lowest)
Uninsured rate: 10.7 percent (12th lowest)
Physicians per 100,000: 135.7 (10th highest)
Percentage visiting dentist in 2012: 64.9 (11th highest)

New Hampshire fell two spots in the rankings this year: It was the fifth healthiest state in the nation in 2013. That may, in part, be due to an increased amount of drug deaths: In the past year, drug deaths increased 20 percent from 11.2 to 13.4 deaths per 100,000 population. The good news is that in the past two years, smoking fell 17 percent from 19.4 percent to 16.2 percent of adults.

6. Minnesota

Obesity rate: 25.5 percent (10th lowest)
Uninsured rate: 8.1 percent (4th lowest)
Physicians per 100,000: 145.2 (7th highest)
Percentage visiting dentist in 2012: 62.4 (17th highest)

The Gopher State also fell in the rankings this year. It held the No. 3 spot in 2013. But Minnesota still has some good health stats on its side: It has one of the nation’s lowest uninsured rates and has the 10th lowest obesity rate in the nation. The ranking for senior health in Minnesota also was first in 2014.

Photo: White Bear Lake, Associated Press/Ben Garvin

5. Utah

Obesity rate: 24.1 percent (4th lowest)
Uninsured rate: 14.2 percent (20th highest)
Physicians per 100,000: 80.8 (7th lowest)
Percentage visiting dentist in 2012: 67.3 (13th highest)

Utah is moving on up: This year the Beehive State is ranked 5th; it was 6th last year. Among its strengths is a low prevalence of smoking and a low rate of preventable hospitalizations. Comparitively, its obesity rate is one of the best in the nation, too. However, the report notes that in the past year, physical inactivity increased by 16 percent from 16.5 percent to 19.1 percent of adults.

Photo: Mesa Arch in Canyonland National Park, Utah, www.freedigitalphotos.net

connecticut

4. Connecticut

Obesity rate: 24.9 percent (8th highest)
Uninsured rate: 9.3 percent (8th lowest)
Physicians per 100,000: 166.7 (6th highest)
Percentage visiting dentist in 2012: 79.1 (6th highest)

Connecticut is the 4th healthiest state this year; it was 7th in 2013. Among the state’s strengths: it has a low prevalence of smoking, a low occupational fatalities rate and a high immunization coverage among children. And, though the state’s obesity rate is high, in the past two years, physical inactivity decreased by 11 percent from 25.5 percent to 22.8 percent of adults, the report said. Its challenges include a high prevalence of binge drinking, a high rate of preventable hospitalizations and a large disparity in health status by education level.

Photo: Getty Images

3. Massachusetts

Obesity rate: 23.6 percent (3rd highest)
Uninsured rate: 3.8 percent (the lowest)
Physicians per 100,000: 200.8 (the highest)
Percentage visiting dentist in 2012: 85.6 (the highest)

Once again, Massachusetts has the lowest uninsured rate in the nation. Just 3.8 percent of its residents are uninsured thanks to the state’s health reform that went into effect back in 2006. It now ranks as the third healthiest state in the nation. Last year, it was ranked 4th. It also ranks first for the number of available primary care doctors and dentists in the nation.

Photo: Boston. By Arvind Balaraman.

2. Vermont

Obesity rate 24.7 percent (7th lowest)
Uninsured rate: 6.8 percent (2nd lowest)
Physicians per 100,000: 170.9 (4th highest)
Percentage visiting dentist in 2012: 60 (21st highest)

Despite being ranked the second healthiest state in the nation for the last two years, Vermont has still made some considerable gains in the last couple years in the health department: In the last two years, smoking decreased by 13 percent from 19.1 percent to 16.6 percent of adults. And, in the past year, binge drinking decreased by 11 percent from 19.3 percent to 17.1 percent of adults.

Photo: freedigitalphotos.net

1. Hawaii

Obesity rate: 21.8 percent (2nd lowest)
Uninsured rate: 6.8 percent (2nd lowest)
Physicians per 100,000: 140.2 (9th highest)
Percentage visiting dentist in 2012: 79.2 (5th highest)

Move to Hawaii and say aloha to good health. For the third consecutive year, Hawaii is the healthiest state in America’s Health Rankings. Its continued presence among the top states is due to its low prevalence of both smoking and obesity; a low percentage of children in poverty; small disparity in health status by education level; and low rates of preventable hospitalizations, cancer deaths and cardiovascular deaths.

Photo: Lanikai Beach, Oahu, Hawaii. by Liz Noffsinger.

Also read: The 10 fattest states in the nation