New studies have been coming out about where to live the healthiest, happiest, and longest life in the US. Although health and happiness are often measured by subjective questionnaires, the rankings are interesting to boomers looking for warm, healthy, and happy places to spend time in their retirement years. We collected recent rankings on living in Hawaii and compared them to the overall national ranking on health, longevity, and happiness.
WEATHER AND AIR QUALITY
Though Hawaii has some bad air days from the active volcano, it gets high rankings from the EPA for having all zero ozone days.
Hawaii has strong Smoke-free laws which reduces the chances of breathing second-hand smoke.
Hawaii’s tropical climate (at sea level) has minimal temperature variation during its two seasons. It is 85-90 degrees in the summer and 79-83 degrees in winter.
In our opinion, Hawaii has the best weather on the planet.
ACTIVITY AND EXERCISE
Warm weather (that is never too hot) year-round may be why people in Hawaii are more active than most of the rest of the nation.
According to the 2012 CDC report, 81.3% of Hawaii residents participated in physical activity within the past month which is higher than the overall nationwide data of 77.1% and ranks Hawaii in the top 5 of US States.
In 2012, only 16.3% of Adults in Hawaii told the CDC that they are limited in their activities because of physical, mental, or emotional problems compared to 20.1% nationwide and ranks Hawaii in the top 3 US States.
Increased activity and year round sunlight may be the reason for less obesity in Hawaii. Many people we know, including us, are thinner in Hawaii than we were when we lived on the mainland.
According to the “F as in Fat” project by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Hawaii is the fourth least obese state in the nation (ranked 47/51) with an obesity rate that is lower than 30%.
Hawaii’s 2012 adult obesity rate is 23.6% (men 26.8% and women 20.3%)
Hawaii’s obesity rate for adults age 45-64 is 26.8%, the rate for adults age 65+ is 14.1%, and the rate for white residents is 19%.
According to the CDC, Hawaii had the lowest mortality in 2011 in the US with an age-adjusted death rate of 584.8 deaths per 100,000 standard population. This compares to the national age-adjusted rate of 740.6 nationwide. The closest state to Hawaii’s low mortality is California with an age-adjusted rate of 638.8.
Hawaii’s low mortality may be related to the healthy state of the residents. Hawaii was ranked the most “Healthy” in the nation by United Health Foundation using a wide range of measurements. According to the report, some of the positive measures for Hawaii as compared to elsewhere in the US include: low cancer deaths, low cardiovascular deaths, low diabetes, low disparity in health status, high immunization coverage, high health insurance coverage, low obesity, high physical activity, low rate of preventable hospitalizations, high public health funding, and low smoking.
The United HealthFoundation’s report on seniors reported that Hawaii has the lowest prevalence of depression among seniors in the nation and the lowest prevalence of obesity among seniors in the country.
With a low death rate and better health for people in Hawaii, it is not surprising that the state continues its top ranking for longevity in the nation at 81.48 years old compared with the national rate of 78.61.
One of the best things about spending time in Hawaii is that most people are really happy and very fun to be around. In 2012, Hawaii maintained its ranking as the “happiest” State in the US by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.