(08/18/2010)
Forbes magazine says West Virginia is the nation's most medicated state.

The average West Virginian fills about 18.4 prescriptions each year, compared to the national average of 11.6, according to Forbes' study.

Tennessee ranked second in the nation with a 16.9 per capita rate of retail prescriptions, followed by Alabama, 16.7; Kentucky, 16.5; and Arkansas, 16.4.

Forbes ranked West Virginia as the nation's most medicated state in 2008, with a per capita prescription rate of 17.2.

Drugs are big business in the USA.

Spending on prescription drugs has multiplied nearly six times in less than 20 years, from about $40 billion in 1990 to about $234 billion in 2008, according to a Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation study.

West Virginians are generally older and less healthy than people in other states, according to reports.

The state has some of the highest rates for heart trouble, diabetes, arthritis and population that smokes and is obese or overweight.

In the adult population, about 68 percent are obese or overweight, 27 percent smoke, about 30 percent report poor mental health, and about 20 percent are disabled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 33 percent of the state's population has high blood pressure, and one in four West Virginians die of heart disease, says the CDC.


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