LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — A state-by-state measure of U.S. brain health has found that Marylanders have the most nourished noggins in the nation.

A comprehensive study called “America’s Brain Health Index” evaluated all 50 states and D.C. based on the diets, physical health, mental health and social well-being of residents.

Specific categories include rate of consumption of DHA-fortified foods and supplements, breast-feeding rates, amount of sleep, smoking rates, Alzheimer’s disease prevalence, education rankings and community involvement.

Maryland stayed so high in the rankings (it was also #1 in 2011) mainly due to high consumption of DHA, few smokers and low occurrence of Alzheimer’s-related deaths and Alzheimer’s prevalence. However, the state also has a high rate of diabetes and residents are involved in few religious and spiritual activities.

D.C. was also high on the list, ranking 6th, although the city dropped from its #2 2011 spot.

Virginia was ranked lower, but still in the top half of the country. The Commonwealth ranked 18 among all states.

The city has high rates of DHA consumption and lots of active readers, but also a high rate of cardiovascular disease-related deaths, not a lot of breastfeeding babies and, like Maryland, not a lot of religious and spiritual activity.

The Index was built with data from the Centers for Disease Control, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and CQ Press (Education State Rankings), among others.

Top 10 States For Brain Health:

1. Maryland
2. Washington
3. Colorado
4. Connecticut
5. Alaska
6. District of Columbia
7. Vermont
8. New York
9. New Hampshire
10. Georgia

Bottom 10 States For Brain Health:

41. West Virginia
42. Kentucky
43. Tennessee
44. Oklahoma
45. Indiana
46. Iowa
47. Arkansas
48. Louisiana
49. North Dakota
50. Alabama
51. Mississippi

Click here for the full rankings.


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