Residents of The Centennial State may hold the secret to living a long and healthy life. 

A new analysis found Coloradans topped the list of people with the best heart health because the state has the lowest obesity rate in the US and it ranks first for the most physically active people.

It also has the least amount of residents with high blood pressure – a risk factor for heart disease – and the lowest death rate from heart disease. 

The Forbes Health analysis found Colorado had a perfect heart-health score of 100 based on 16 health and lifestyle factors, which included diet, smoking, drinking, exercise, sleep and hours worked. 

At the bottom of the list, the state with the unhealthiest hearts – with a score of zero – was Arkansas, which is home to the most Americans that smoke every day, as well as sky-high obesity rates. 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, killing 695,000 people and costing $240billion a year – and nearly half of Americans are impacted by some kind of cardiovascular disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For the analysis, Forbes analyzed data from multiple government and health databases for 16 metrics, including hours worked per month, consumption of fruits and vegetables, sleep habits, alcohol use, smoking rates, obesity rates and death rates from stroke, high blood pressure and heart conditions.

The research included approximately 800 data points.  

Colorado residents ranked high in heart health thanks to their diets, with 81 percent of people in the state reporting they consume veggies at least once per day and light alcohol consumption – just eight percent of residents said they drink heavily.

Additionally, the state has the lowest percentage of people with high blood pressure – 25 percent – and the fourth lowest rate of deaths from heart disease. 

Colorado is also home to the lowest percentage of people classified as obese – 25 percent, compared to the national average of 42 percent.

And it has the highest percentage of people who reported having exercised at least once in the past month – 84 percent. 

The association between physical activity and healthy hearts was observed throughout the analysis.

Out of the top 10 most active states, five also ranked among the top 10 overall heart healthiest.

And the top five most active were located in the western United States, where there are fewer densely populated cities and residents have more access to outdoor activities. 

The above shows the rate of heart disease deaths by county in the United States from 2018 to 2020

The above shows the rate of heart disease deaths by county in the United States from 2018 to 2020

Behind Colorado was Massachusetts with a score of 99, New Hampshire and Utah were tied at 96 points and Connecticut was close behind with a score of 94. 

Massachusetts scored high thanks to having the lowest rate of people dying from strokes and having the second-lowest smoking prevalence, which is a known factor in causing heart disease.

Residents of New Hampshire can thank their veggie-heavy diets for their healthy hearts and balanced work schedule. 

The state ranked fourth-lowest in the average number of hours worked per month – 37 – which can be used as an indication for stress levels. 

The state also has the lowest rate of high blood pressure-related deaths in the country. 

The active lifestyles of Utahns and highest rate of people who have never smoked helped the state with its high score. Residents there also ranked third-lowest for people reporting being heavy drinkers. 

Connecticut’s score could be due to its fifth-lowest rate of deaths from strokes and heart disease.

Taking last place with a score of zero was Arkansas. 

The state scored poorly because it has the highest rate of death from coronary heart disease and it has the second-most number of residents who smoke every day. 

Following Arkansas were four other southern states – Mississippi scored three points, Tennessee had seven, Louisiana was ranked with a score of 10 and West Virginia placed 46th of the 50 states place with a score of 13. 

Mississippi followed due to having the lowest percentage of residents who exercise and the second-highest heart disease mortality rate in the US.  

Tennessee found itself with just seven points because its resident work the third-highest number of hours per month – 42 – and third-highest prevalence of people who smoke every day.   

Louisiana scored in 47th place thanks to its residents’ unhealthy diets, with the second-lowest number of people consuming fruit every day and the lowest percentage of people eating vegetables every day. 

West Virginia rounds out the bottom five because it has the second-highest level of people with high cholesterol and the second-highest death rate from coronary heart disease. 

Some form of cardiovascular disease affects about half of Americans – approximately 127million people. 

Risk factors include obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, a sedentary lifestyle, bad diet and family history of heart disease. 

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