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December 14, 2010

New Jersey inched up the rankings in overall health this year, according to America’s Health Rankings, an annual study conducted by the United Health Foundation in conjunction with the American Public Health Association and Partnership for Prevention.

The state placed 17, up from 18, in this year’s rankings. The study looks at 36 different measures that it said determined overall health, including behaviors such as drinking and smoking; community environment, such as crime and air pollution; public health policy; clinical care and health outcomes; and economic activity.

New Jersey got high marks for its moderate prevalence of obesity (23. 9 percent of population), low infant mortality rate (5.3 deaths per 1,000), high rate of high school graduation (84.6 percent), low rate of occupational fatalities (3.3 deaths per 100,000 workers) and ready availability of primary care physicians.

The survey cited New Jersey’s challenges, such as a high incidence of infectious disease (19.4 cases per 100,000), limited access to early prenatal care and high rate of hospitalizations.

The Garden State ranked much higher than its neighbors. New York ranked 24, Pennsylvania, 27, and Delaware, 32. The five highest-ranking states were Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Hawaii, in that order. The lowest-ranking states were Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Nevada and Oklahoma.

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