Top 5 healthiest states for seniorsNews added by Benefits Pro on May 27, 2014

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By Kathryn Mayer

Seniors are showing “encouraging” gains in key health measures and taking more steps to improve their own health, according to a national report measuring seniors’ health from the United Health Foundation.

Seniors are more active compared to last year, with physical inactivity declining from 30.3 percent of the senior population to 28.7 percent.

The report grades states on 34 individual measures ranging from the amount of physical activity to prescription drug coverage to flu vaccinations. It measures the healthiest — and unhealthiest — states for seniors. Here are the top five healthiest states for adults 65 and older.

5. Massachusetts

Among the Bay State's strengths are a high percentage of dental visits, low geriatrician shortfall and a high percentage of health screenings, according to the report.

Also, the percentage of physically inactive seniors decreased by 11 percent in the last year, from 29.2 percent of adults aged 65 and older to 26.1 percent. Still, nearly 250,000 seniors are inactive.

4. Vermont

Vermont ranks in the top 10 in 17 individual measures for seniors. Overall, seniors in the Green Mountain State rank high in health status. Vermont also has a low prevalence of smoking.

Vermont was ranked, overall, the second healthiest state in the nation in the United Health Foundation’s 2013 America’s Health Rankings.
3. New Hampshire

New Hampshire has the highest percentage of quality nursing home beds as well as the highest prevalence of health screenings.

2. Hawaii

The surf and sand must make a good impression on older Americans: The Aloha State has the lowest prevalence of depression among seniors in the nation. It also has the lowest obesity rate for seniors.

In the United Health Foundation’s 2013 America’s Health Rankings, Hawaii was named the healthiest state among all Americans.

1. Minnesota

Seniors might want to consider leaving sunny Florida and head north. For the second year in a row, Minnesota is ranked the best state for seniors.

Its strengths include ranking first for all health determinants combined, which includes ranking in the top five states for a high rate of dental visits, a high percentage of volunteerism, a high percentage of quality nursing home beds, a low percentage of marginal food insecurity, a high percentage of
prescription drug coverage, and ready availability of home health care workers, according to the report. Like all states, Minnesota has areas where it can improve: its challenges include low community support expenditures and a low prevalence of older adults with a dedicated health care provider.

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