* Healthy lifestyles could reduce the need for federal spending, especially for Medicare and Medicaid.
* Laws and regulations should be put in place to allow Medicare to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies for cheaper drugs.
* States whose Congressional representatives and residents vigorously support programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, tend to be very healthy.
* The 10 healthiest states include: all six New England states, Hawaii, Minnesota, Utah and New Jersey.
* Political leaders in the least healthy states, particularly in the Deep South, often oppose funding federal programs that help their own residents.
* The Deep South has six of the 10 least healthy states: Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, South Carolina, Alabama and Oklahoma.
Changes West Virginians make now will not only improve the health and future prospects of today's adults, but will set an example for children, the next generation of parents, workers and taxpayers.
West Virginia must keep this ball rolling.