Nick McWilliams reporting – According to the latest edition of the America Health Rankings Senior Report, Ohio stayed in the bottom portion of all 50 states for the health of older Americans.

The report, issued by the United Health Foundation, determined the top five healthiest states for older adults were Utah, New Hampshire, Colorado, Minnesota, and Vermont.

Chief Medical Officer for UnitedHealthcare Employer and Individual Dr. Rhonda Randall, who also serves as a board member for the foundation, says that Ohio ranked 37th, the same as last year, but exceled in some areas.

“A low prevalence of excessive drinking. That’s one of the things that’s actually helping Ohio move up in the ranks. A low rate of poverty, and a high rate of Hospice care for seniors who have a terminal illness where no cure is possible. They rank third in the nation for that measure.” 

Additionally, Randall says that more people in Ohio choose career paths in geriatric care than the national average, with a 25-percent increase over the last year, compared to 17-percent nationally.

On the shortcomings front, however, she says that the state is well behind the national average on activity levels and early death rate.

“Ohio’s ranked 39th in the nation for that, and it’s correlated strongly with a high rate of physical inactivity among seniors. Seniors who are able-bodied are not getting any physical activity in a day outside of their activities of daily living. They’re ranked 40th in the nation for that measure. And 48th for a high prevalence of obesity.”

According to the report, 36 percent of seniors in Ohio self-report being considered obese, a number that is likely underreported.

Randall says that the report should serve as a guideline to the areas where senior citizens should aim to improve upon, and act as a message to communities as to where they can provide services.

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