Where You Live Can Affect Your Health

Posted by Hilary Young on September 16, 2013

Where You Live Can Affect Your Health

The health of our nation is a recent hot topic for news commentators, columnists, and bloggers. It is no secret that America has an obesity problem, a struggling health care system, and a rapidly increasing senior citizen population that is truly underserved.

There has been a great deal of opinion thrown around and government programs enacted in an attempt to improve the overall heath for Americans, and yet the numbers and reports are still dismal.

Health for American Seniors

Especially concerning are the reports showing the failing health and lack of care for the ever-growing senior population. American seniors are living much longer, and the established infrastructure of care is not large enough for the blooming population. However, recent research indicates that seniors living within certain states are much more likely to experience healthy later years, while other states’ seniors are at a greatly heightened risk of poor health. Does where you live truly affect your overall health and life expectancy?

America’s Health Rankings 2013 Senior Report

The 2013 Senior Report – released by America’s Health Rankings, lists the overall senior health rankings for all 50 states. Minnesota leads the pack and is the best state in the nation for overall senior health. Also in the top five are Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Iowa. Mississippi is the lowest performing state for senior health, with Oklahoma, Louisiana, West Virginia, and Arkansas rounding out the bottom five.

The rankings were determined using 34 different measures, which are both determinate and outcome based. Determinate measures examine negative actions taken by individuals that affect their health, like drinking, overeating, and a sedentary lifestyle. Outcome measures are health concerns which occur due to an unhealthy life - like obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Can My State Really Affect My Health?

Health is more than just government programs and public service announcements – health is also a culture. Some states have embraced the culture of healthy living, and therefore have more options for healthy food, recreation, and local support. In areas with less of a local commitment to health, there are limited options for those trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Your environment most definitely affects your actions, especially when your environment can provide support and encouragement to your goal. Aging presents many medical and physical problems for seniors – and the number one way to combat the aging process is healthy living – a good diet, daily exercise, plenty of sleep, and low stress. Is your geographic location helping or hurting you?

Take look at the America’s Health Ranking report here and see how your state ranks in senior health.


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