More older Americans say they feel healthy, but they may not be doing enough to stay healthy.
Analysts at a foundation affiliated with UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) have included data hinting at a possible threat to future senior health in a big batch of senior health data.
The analysts used the data to come up with state senior health rankings. The analysts put Vermont in first place and Louisiana in last place. They used a wide range of health and general well-being indicators, ranging from obesity rates, to the number of home health care workers, to how older Americans say they feel.
The percentage of U.S. adults ages 65 and older who said their health status was very good or excellent increased to 41.8 percent this year, up from 39.9 percent two years ago.
The number of hospitalizations for hip fractures per 100,000 Medicare beneficiaries has fallen to 6.2, from 7.3.
The number of deaths per 100,000 adults ages 65 to 74 has fallen to 1,803, from 1,909.
But the percentage of older Americans who said they are not physically active outside of work increased to 33.1 percent, from 28.7 percent, and the percentage who appear to be obese increased to 26.7 percent, from 25.3 percent.
In Mississippi, for example, 45.3 percent of older adults said they had not run, golfed, gardened or walked in the last 30 days.
The analysts also found gaps in the resources available to keep older people from dying early, or spending long periods of time without being able to handle the activities of daily living (ADLs).
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In the top-performing state, for example, 92.4 percent of older Americans had received the recommended health screenings in the past year. In the United States as a whole, only 86.2 percent received the recommended screenings.
The percentage of people with diabetes who received the recommended care was 86 percent in the top-performing state and 80.8 percent in the country as a whole.