By Dr. Brian McDonough

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – America’s Health Rankings have been around for a quarter of a century. It is a very interesting look at how states compare against each other year to year, with targets like smoking, obesity, children in poverty, cancer and preventable hospitalizations examined.

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This year the place to live is Hawaii followed by Vermont, Massachusetts Connecticut and Utah. The bottom five are Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky and Oklahoma.

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Some states seem trapped in their positions – in 25 years Mississippi has not finished out of the bottom three while some states have made improvements. New York was fortieth back in 1990 and is now fourteenth. Pennsylvania is right in the middle.

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These are important studies that give communities a sense of where they stand.