UNITED STATES — The United Health Foundation and American Public Health Association released the 2022 America’s Health Rankings Annual Report, analyzing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic thus far over a multitude of factors. The report also analyzed state-by-state impacts, breaking down strengths and weaknesses for each state, plus which improvements and challenges are more prevalent in each state.
The report identifies Washington’s strengths as its low premature death rate, low economic hardship index score and low prevalence of cigarette smoking. Its challenges are identified as a high racial disparity in premature death rates, a high prevalence of frequent mental distress and high levels of air pollution.
Washington ranked well in numerous categories in the report. It ranked best in the country for cigarette smoking prevalence and for high-speed internet access, reporting over 95% of households with access. The state ranked second place in occupational hazards, with only New York reporting less than Washington. Washington was third in lowest physical inactivity reports and fourth in annual nutrition and physical activity.
Further, food insecurity decreased in the state from 14.3% in 2011-2013 to 7.9% in 2019-2021.
However, drug deaths in the state increased 36% between 2019 and 2020, according to the report. Washington also showed frequent mental stress increases, from 13.7% to 15.4% between 2020 and 2021.
The state ranked lowest in the sexual health category, coming in 43rd for high-risk HIV behaviors. Washington ranked 42 in crowded housing, graduation rates and graduation racial disparity.