Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Minnesota is the healthiest state for a seniors, a new report says. / Photo Disc

The healthiest state to be a senior citizen is Minnesota and the worst is Mississippi, according to a new report that examines the health of people over 65.

For the second year in a row, United Health Foundation, a Minnesota non-profit, has examined publicly available health data across the USA and ranked states by their support for healthy aging. The report is at http://www.americashealthrankings.org/reports/Senior

"We really wanted to take a look at how well seniors are living as well as how long," said Rhonda Randall, a senior adviser to United Health Foundation and chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement, a Minnesota-based company offering private Medicare plans.

Some metrics improved over last year, according to the report, "America's Health RankingsĀ® Senior Report: A Call to Action for Individuals and Their Communities":

ā?¢ More seniors are getting regular physical activity;

ā?¢ More are choosing what kind of care they want at the end of life, with hospice care rising and hospital deaths falling over last year;

ā?¢ Fewer people were hospitalized for preventable reasons;

ā?¢ More seniors are living in high-quality nursing homes.

Minnesota ranks so well because it offers widespread access to annual dental care; has a high percentage of volunteerism - meaning seniors are staying active and have a purpose; and higher prescription drug coverage, she said. But the state could still do better by spending more on support activities such as senior centers and transportation, Randall said.

States that ranked low, such as Mississippi and Louisiana were faulted for having high poverty rates and low levels of preventive care. But even in Mississippi, rates of exercise increased among seniors - a hopeful sign that conditions are improving, Randall said.

Suzanne Salamon, associate head of geriatrics at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, said the report reflects what she sees in her own practice. More of her patients talk about exercise and are offered more exercise options in nursing homes and senior centers.

"I feel like not enough people still do it, but it's definitely better than it used to be," she said, adding that aging Baby Boomers may be better about exercise than their parents' generation.

Improving the health of seniors helps people of all ages, said Linda Fried, an epidemiologist and dean of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. Even something as simple as putting traffic islands in the middle of busy intersections can help encourage seniors to walk more, Fried said.

"Everybody else will benefit, too," she said.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Minnesota tops in senior health, study says

More In

test

Real Deals

Flip, shop and save on specials from your favorite retailers in central Ohio.

GET DEALS | COUPONS

Things To Do

FRI
31
SAT
1
SUN
2
MON
3
TUE
4
WED
5
THU
6

CLASSIFIEDS

Classifieds from across Central Ohio
Lancaster
Chillicothe
Newark
Marion
Bucyrus
Mansfield
Zanesville
Coshocton

Weeklies & Shoppers

10TV Headlines

Dispatch Headlines

METROMIX