Stress, Smoking, Sugar

In 2016, the 10 states with the highest probability of premature death among 20- to 55-year-olds were West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arkansas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Tennessee, and South Carolina.

Meanwhile, the 10 states with lowest probability of premature death among this age group were Minnesota, California, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Hawaii.

Some of the findings track with the “diseases of despair” hypothesis—the idea that Americans are self-medicating their misery with alcohol and drugs—but it’s also clear that Americans’ poor diets are a major part of the problem.

A poor diet was the leading cause of death, followed by tobacco use and high blood pressure. 

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