Minnesotans live longer, healthier lives than residents in most states

A new study showing the impacts of disease revealed that Minnesotans live longer and healthier lives than residents in nearly any other state. 

The study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) involved 333 causes and 84 risk factors to determine how the levels and trends of burden of diseases, injuries and risk factors in the United States changed between 1990 and 2016 in every state. 

It found large disparities between states. On a national level, the study determined that the United States lags behind other, less developed countries that spend less money per person on health-related costs.

Overall, Minnesota ranks fourth in life expectancy behind Hawaii, California and Connecticut, according to the study.

When comparing every states’ life expectancy by gender, it found that Minnesota males lead the nation with a life expectancy of 78.7 years. Minnesota females ranked fourth nationwide at 82.9 years. 

Minnesota had the highest healthy life expectancy at birth at 70.3 years, meaning Minnesotans spend the most years of their lives in full health. West Virginia sat on the other end of the chart, with its residents living 63.8 years in full health, a 6.5 year difference, the study showed. 

The study reinforces Minnesota’s reputation as a healthy state, but also shows that work still remains, Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcom said in a press release. Chronic disease is a serious and growing threat, according to the study.

“Minnesota has serious health disparities across population groups, and we need to reduce these disparities in order for all of us to be as healthy as we can be,” Malcom said. 

According to the study, the top risk factor causing death and disability in Minnesota was smoking. Other factors were obesity, high fasting plasma glucose, high blood pressure and alcohol use. 

Back pain topped the list of health issues that causes Minnesotans to live for years with disabilities, followed by depression. 

Diabetes and opioid use were cited as factors that dramatically increased Minnesotans’ disease burden between 1990 and 2016. 

The overall health performance across the nation showed the importance of preventing diseases, rather than just treating them.