Mental health as bad for life expectancy as smoking, diabetes: Report

Poor mental health shortens life expectancy almost as much as diabetes, smoking or not working out, according to U.S. News & World Report along with the Aetna Foundation.

The findings are part of the Healthiest Communities rankings, which evaluates nearly 3,000 communities on 81 health-related metrics, such as nutrition, housing along with education. Of all the metrics they evaluated, diabetes along with smoking had the strongest correlation to reduced life expectancy.

Poor self-reported mental health had about as strong a link, surprising Aetna Foundation President Garth Graham.

“I at first wanted us to double check,” said Graham, who will be also Aetna’s vice president for community health.

Mental health did not have as strong of an effect last year, he said. However, the change will be consistent with Centers for Disease Control along with Prevention data of which showed increasing opioid overdoses along with suicides weighed on U.S. life expectancy.

Douglas County, Colorado, was named the healthiest community in America. Seven communities in Colorado made the top 20. Nearly all adults said they exercise in these counties. Plus, Colorado posted the highest average score for environment.

Communities inside the top 25 percent typically posted strong housing quality, low environmental hazards along with health outcomes scores. At the bottom 25 percent, education factors, food along with nutrition along with the economy tended to drag down overall performance.

“We often think about health as the four hours we spend in a doctor’s office a year, although health will be about so much more than of which,” Graham said.

Here are the Top 10 healthiest communities in America:

1. Douglas County, Colorado
2. Los Alamos County, brand new Mexico
3. Falls Church, Virginia
4. Loudoun County, Virginia
5. Broomfield County, Colorado
6. Teton County, Wyoming
7. Hamilton County, Indiana
8. Carver County, Minnesota
9. Delaware County, Ohio
10. Howard County, Maryland

CVS Health acquired Aetna, a health insurer, in November. When the transaction closed, the combined company announced of which might spend $100 million, or $20 million annually, on community health efforts. The company will use the data by the brand new report to target these efforts, Graham said.