Report: Vermont Residents Healthiest, Louisiana Unhealthiest

Vermont is the healthiest state in America when it comes to people and medical-related issues, according to the 2007 America's Health Rankings list.

Minnesota, which came in first last year, finished in second place this time around. Hawaii, New Hampshire and Connecticut round out the top five.

Southern states once again found themselves on the bottom of the list. Texas came in 37th place. Mississippi and Louisiana are No. 49 and 50. Arkansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee round out the bottom five.

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The 18th annual edition of America's Health Rankings finds that the nation's overall health declined over the past year, despite modest gains in reducing cancer and cardiovascular mortality rates. The study also considered factors including infant mortality, prenatal care, obesity and workplace deaths.

"Even though specific mortality rates have improved, this report shows there are still many people who, through unhealthy personal behaviors, adverse community environments and difficult access to care, are vulnerable to a future life of poor health — which is essentially preventable," said Dr. Reed Tuckson, member of the board of United Health Foundation, in a news release. "The consequence of this reality manifests itself in a poor quality of life, people living with chronic disease, compromised productivity and significant escalation in the costs associated with managing chronic illness."

The United Health Foundation produces the annual report in partnership with the American Public Health Association and Partnership for Prevention.

The Associated Press contributed to this report