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Tech These are the US states where people live the longest, healthiest lives — and the shortest

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Life expectancy without illness for Minnesotans is more than 70 years old, but in West Virginia, healthy life expectancy is six and a half years shorter.

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(REUTERS/Nacho Doce)
  • Life expectancy increased in the US from 1990 to 2016. Today, overall average life expectancy is up to 78.9 years old.
  • But researchers are worried that increasingly, Americans are smoking and drinking too much, eating bad food, and suffering from more drug use disorders.
  • It's all having an effect on how long people can live healthy, disability and disease-free lives.

Americans born today can expect to live to a ripe old age of nearly 79 years old.

Life expectancy in the US is nearly four years longer than it was back in 1990. But researchers say while Americans might live longer today than they used to, they're not necessarily living much healthier lives.

That's according to a new JAMA study that tracked the state of health in the US from 1990-2016. The study traced the prevalence of 333 different health problem causes and 84 risk factors for death over a 26 year period.

The researchers found that the average American born today can expect to live 67.7 years illness and injury-free, a healthy life expectancy average that's just 2.4 years longer than it was in 1990.

The researchers are especially worried about growing rates of health problems like obesity and diabetes, as well as the prevalence of drug use disorders (including opioid addiction) and alcohol use. Other health issues on the rise in the US include cognitive diseases like Alzheimer's and hearing loss, which are edging out what used to be some of the most common health issues in the country, like major depression, low back pain, and car crash injuries.

Lead study author Christopher Murray, who directs the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington has said before that obesity and substance use disorders are increasing health problems around the globe, and his most recent data shows us that the US is no exception to the trend.

In 1960, Americans had the highest life expectancy of any country in the world. But today, the US has plummeted to the bottom of the list of countries with a similar GDP and high average income, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The number of years people can expect to live healthy, illness and injury-free lives in the US is over 70 years old in only two states: Minnesota and Hawaii. Take a look at where your state ranks.

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(Business Insider)

Here's the full list, in order from longest healthy life expectancy to shortest*.

  1. Minnesota - 70.3 years
  2. Hawaii - 70.1 years
  3. California - 69.9 years
  4. Washington - 69.1 years
  5. Vermont - 69 years
  6. Connecticut - 69 years
  7. Iowa - 68.9 years
  8. Massachusetts - 68.9 years
  9. Colorado - 68.9 years
  10. New Jersey - 68.8 years
  11. North Dakota - 68.8 years
  12. Nebraska - 68.8 years
  13. Wisconsin - 68.6 years
  14. New Hampshire - 68.5 years
  15. New York - 68.5 years
  16. South Dakota - 68.4 years
  17. Oregon - 68.4 years
  18. Illinois - 68.3 years
  19. Utah - 68.2 years
  20. Rhode Island 68.1 years
  21. Maine - 68 years
  22. Maryland - 68 years
  23. Virginia - 68 years
  24. Florida - 67.9 years
  25. Idaho - 67.9 years
  26. Kansas - 67.8 years
  27. Arizona - 67.7 years
  28. Montana - 67.7 years
  29. Texas - 67.4 years
  30. Wyoming - 67.4 years
  31. Washington, DC - 67.4 years
  32. North Carolina - 67.4 years
  33. Alaska - 67.3 years
  34. Delaware - 67.2 years
  35. Michigan - 67 years
  36. Nevada - 66.9 years
  37. Pennsylvania - 66.8 years
  38. Georgia - 66.6 years
  39. Missouri - 66.5 years
  40. New Mexico - 66.3 years
  41. Ohio - 66.1 years
  42. Indiana - 66 years
  43. South Carolina - 65.8 years
  44. Arkansas - 65.5 years
  45. Tennessee - 65.4 years
  46. Louisiana - 65 years
  47. Mississippi - 64.9 years
  48. Alabama - 64.6 years
  49. Oklahoma - 64.5 years
  50. Kentucky - 64.3 years
  51. West Virginia - 63.8 years

*This list includes Washington DC, which is why there are 51 entries.