An annual report that analyzes dozens of health outcomes and factors on a state-by-state basis is out with its first edition that includes mostly data recorded during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Garden State posts a variety of strengths and challenges in the United Health Foundation's 2021 America's Health Rankings, the 32nd edition of the report, which cited a 17% increase in the U.S. death rate between 2019 and 2020.
According to the report, New Jersey is home to the lowest rate of adverse childhood experiences, which have the potential to deliver lifelong physical, emotional and economic challenges, to go along with a low rate of both smoking and suicide, compared to other states.
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At 27.7%, the adult obesity rate in New Jersey is the sixth-lowest in the nation, the report notes.
"We saw voter participation increase in New Jersey, and the number of individuals who are getting insufficient sleep went down in New Jersey," said Dr. Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual. "And, New Jersey has a low rate of multiple chronic conditions in adults."
The report, which looked at 81 measures from more than 30 different public health sources, also noted New Jersey has one of the best high school graduation rates. The rate is a predictor of health throughout the course of one's life, Randall said.
The report puts New Jersey among the best states when it comes to depression among residents, but the Garden State saw depression rates increase by 29% among adults between 2018 and 2020.
In the report, New Jersey ranked among the bottom fifth of states for a number of measures, including the supply of primary care providers (214.6 active providers per 100,000 population); percentage of severe housing problems; rate of volunteerism; and issues related to drinking water, such as violations and fluoridation.
New Jersey ranked 50th overall for measures related to "physical environment."
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