Idaho moves up in rankings for healthy people living in state

Idaho moves up in rankings for healthy people living in state »Play Video
Idahoans face problems of low immunization rates and pertussis infections.
LEWISTON, ID - Idaho ranks 12th among all U.S. states in overall health, that's according to a new national report that highlights the strengths and challenges that all 50 states face.

The Gem State significantly improved from last year when the state ranked 19th. However three challenges Idahoans have are low immunization coverage, limited availability of primary care physicians, and a high frequency of whooping cough.

Doctor David Petersen of Valley Medical Center family physician, said the problems of low immunization and pertussis infections often go hand-in-hand.

"It is very preventable," said Doctor Petersen. "It is actually one of the most common childhood illnesses that is preventable by vaccine and in the State of Idaho there are somewhat poor immunization rates partly due to miss-information."

Hawaii is the healthiest state, Mississippi the least healthiest, and Washington trails Idaho coming in at number 14. One challenge listed for Washington is a high rate of drug deaths.