Well, lookee here, another study about our overall health and wellness. Whether they're actually accurate or not, it's always interesting to see where we in Iowa rank, and how we compare to our neighbors. This study, however, paints a very strange reason why we are supposedly so unhealthy.

Let's start with the group responsible for the info, then I'll tell you where Iowa ranks, and exactly why we landed where we did.

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The study is from Life Extension and it, supposedly, knows where each state (and Washington D.C.) rank based on three key metrics:

  • Physical and Mental Health
  • Access to National Parks and Nature
  • Interest in Integrative Health Practices

Where Iowa ranks

Using those three metrics, good ol' Iowa is... the 5th most unhealthy state. WOO! Oh, wait, 5th most unhealthy means we're really not healthy. But why? Based on the three metrics listed above, how did we rank so low?

Physical & Mental Health? No. Iowa was not in the bottom five on any physical and mental health breakdowns. We weren't in the top five, but we avoided the bottom.

How about the Interest in Integrative Health Practices category? Umm, nope. The study used six metrics to determine the most and least healthy states in the interest in integrative health practices metric. Iowa was not in the bottom five of any of 'em.

That leaves just Access to National Parks and Nature. As you probably guessed, LifeExtension plopped Iowa at the very bottom of this metric. That's likely because Iowa does not have any national parks.

But hold on, so what? Sorry. I mean, National Parks are amazing. But Iowa still has a lot of parks and nature. From the Effigy Mounds to one in my backyard (literally) Hartman Reserve.

Hartman Reserve via Google
Hartman Reserve via Google
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We have rivers, bike trails, parks, and plenty of outdoor recreation. Head out on a nice summer evening to any Iowa bike trail. It will be full of riders and those enjoying their time outdoors. Visit a park on the weekend, you'll see the same thing.

Overall, the study says California is the healthiest (okay, sure). And Alabama is the most unhealthy. No midwestern state appeared in the top 15 healthiest, and Nebraska, North Dakota, and Missouri are all in the bottom 15.

That is if you believe this study...

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