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N.J. ranks as 10th healthiest state in the nation

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Think everyone around you is out of shape, needs to go on a diet and hit the gym? Think again.

As it turns out, Jerseyans actually are in quite good shape.

New Jersey ranks as the 10th healthiest state in the nation according to the United Health Foundation's 2013 America's Health Rankings.

There's plenty of reasons for the ranking, sponsored by United HealthCare. Consider:

- Primary care physicians and dentists are readily available in New Jersey. In fact, New Jersey ranks second in the U.S. for the most dentists per 100,000 people.
- Overall rates of infectious disease, including rates of chlamydia, pertussis and salmonella, are lower in New Jersey than most other states.
- New Jersey has the fourth lowest rate of children in poverty in the nation, although 12.5 percent of children in New Jersey still live in households at or below the poverty threshold.
- New Jersey ranks 13th in smoking (No. 1 is the best score) and eighth in obesity.
Not that Jerseyans don't have a little work to do.
- Nearly 25 percent of New Jersey adults are physically inactive.
- In the past year, the prevalence of smoking increased by 3 percent, from 16.8 percent to 17.3 percent. More than 1.2 million New Jersey adults smoke.
- The prevalence of obesity has increased in the past year from 23.7 percent to 24.5 percent of adults. More than 1.7 New Jersey residents are obese.
- In the last year, the prevalence of diabetes increased from 8.8 percent to 9.3 percent.

That being said, we're in better shape than all of our closest neighbors, with New York coming in at No. 18, followed by Pennsylvania, at No. 29, and Delaware, at No. 32.

And while Hawaii came in at No. 1, the Northeast fared very well in the rankings with five spots in the top 10:

10. New Jersey
9. Colorado
8. North Dakota
7. Connecticut
6. Utah
5. New Hampshire
4. Massachusetts
3. Minnesota
2. Vermont
1. Hawaii

The South took almost all the bottom spots, including Mississippi (50), Louisiana (49), Arkansas (48), Oklahoma (47), West Virginia (46) and Alabama (45).
States you may have assumed were higher include Oregon (14) and California (21).

Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@njbiz.com

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