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The report provides a benchmark of how the health of each state's population has changed year over year, by comparison to other states, and insights into challenges and successes. The states that are in the top five on the list have areas where they could improve. The states that are in the bottom five have areas that they have done well, so every state has some areas where they're challenged and some areas where they have some really strong measures around their health.
Another thing that concerns us that we found in this report was that premature death increased 3 % in the past year. That means years of life lost before people are reaching the age of 75, that often has correlation with a number of factors -- things like our lifestyle choices, living with more chronic diseases.
We're also seeing there are more mental health providers available than in prior years, that measure looks at mental health providers of all degrees, so it looks at psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health professionals, marriage and family therapists as examples, and so that number has increased nationally.
What I hope we will see next year is that some of these trends really start to go in a better direction. As an example, the smoking trend in the United States has come down consistently over the 29 years of this report. That encourages me, now, if we focus our attention to other lifestyle choices -- like physical inactivity, like obesity -- and find out as individuals what motivates us, what are the small changes that we can make that we'll stick with.
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