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Virginia ranks 21st in overall health

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Virginia ranks in the top half of the 50 states in a national ranking of overall population health.

The America’s Health Rankings sponsored by United Health Foundation ranked the Old Dominion 21st in the country, up two spots from last year.

The rankings listed Virginia’s strengths as low levels of violent crime, few poor mental and physical health days, and a low percentage of children in poverty.

The commonwealth’s challenges include low immunization coverage, high geographic disparity in health condition and a high prevalence of obesity and diabetes.

Vermont ranked as the nation’s healthiest state for the sixth year in a row, while Mississippi and Louisiana tied as the least healthy states.

Nationwide, nearly 28 percent of the population is obese, the survey found, and more than 26 percent get no exercise, resulting in increasing prevalence of diabetes and high blood pressure.

Virginia ranked 35th among states with low obesity rates and 38th among states with low diabetes rates.

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