How Does Kentucky Stack Up Against Most Unhealthy States?

Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

The American conscience is increasingly focused on wellness, which begs the question of which states are the most aligned with that vision by following the types of activities that lead to a happy, healthy life.  

Sadly, for the Bluegrass State, it appears that that is not the case for some, as Kentucky ranks as the fifth least healthy state in the United States alongside Tennessee, thanks to its low life expectancy, high obesity, smoking rate and other metrics.  

BetKentucky.com, home to all things Kentucky sports betting, wanted to see what states were the unhealthiest, according to life expectancy, obesity, smoking rate and physical activity. We ranked each state by each factor, then created an overall list based on the average ranks for each state.  

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Top 10 Unhealthiest States

Rank 

State 

Average Rank 

West Virginia 

48.5 

Mississippi 

47.5 

Louisiana 

47 

Alabama 

45.25 

T-5 

Kentucky 

45 

T-5 

Tennessee 

45 

Arkansas 

44 

Oklahoma 

43 

Ohio 

40.25 

10 

Indiana 

40 

Where Kentucky Stands Health Wise

Nationally, Kentucky’s average rank of 45 puts the Bluegrass State in a tie with their neighbors from Tennessee as the fifth least healthy state in America, ranking just behind Alabama at 45.25.  

The least healthy states overall were West Virginia, which had an average rank of 48.5, followed by Mississippi (47.5 average rank), Louisiana (47 average rank) and Alabama.

The states that were slightly healthier than Kentucky by our metrics were Arkansas (44 average rank), Oklahoma (43 average rank), Ohio (40.25 average rank) and Indiana (40 average rank), illustrating the tradeoffs that come from living in a blue-collar state.  

As the year progresses, maybe Kentucky residents should hit the many top-notch outdoor spaces in the state such as the Appalachian Mountains in the east or the trails along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River to the west.  

Regardless of what residents do, they should do whatever it takes to improve their sedentary lifestyle, as Kentucky stands as one of America’s least healthy states across the board in 2024. 

Look for more occasional lifestyle pieces from BetKentucky, such as: What is the Favorite Airline of Kentucky Residents?

USA Today photo by Tariq Zehawi.

Author

Christopher Boan is a staff writer for BetKentucky.com. He has covered sports and sports betting for more than seven years and has worked for publications such as ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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