BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — New research shows that if you want to live a long, healthy life, Louisiana is the 48th best choice in the U.S.

Research showed Louisiana ranks third-to-last with a life expectancy of 73.1 in 2020. Behind Louisiana, West Virginia has the second-shortest life expectancy with 72.8 and Mississippi ranks last with 71.9.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), data from 2020 showed the leading causes of death in Louisiana were heart disease, cancer and COVID-19. The death rate for heart disease in the state is the fifth-highest in the United States, data showed.

The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) acknowledges socioeconomic factors and said high blood pressure and diabetes in Louisianans are preventable and treatable.

The department cites County Health Rankings to point out four main factors in health: 40% socioeconomic factors, 30% health behaviors, 20% clinical care and 10% physical environment.

“Louisiana residents with a low socioeconomic status are more likely to have high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease; which put them at a higher risk to experience a stroke or heart attack,” LDH said.

The state health department is looking to encourage residents to take part in health screenings and programs to lower heart disease, stroke and diabetes rates.

“Creating links between community organizations and clinical services reduces barriers to preventive screenings and equips residents with, or at high risk of, chronic conditions to the treatment and resources needed to prevent or manage them – improving health outcomes statewide.”

Other findings shared by NiceRx showed that the average wait time in Louisiana emergency rooms averaged 128 minutes and the state spent $22.7 billion on healthcare expenditures.

Diagnosed diabetes costs Louisiana an estimated $5.7 billion each year, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

For more information about chronic disease prevention programs in Louisiana, click here.