By Nyesha Stone
United Health Foundation released its 2019 America’s Health Rankings Senior Report that gives a clear look into the health of the country’s seniors, according to a press release. The report found that there are 550,000 more home health care workers than last year.
Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of UnitedHealthcare, Dr. Rhonda Randall said seniors would rather spend their days at home than at a facility to receive the care they need. And with the senior population living longer— 45 percent increase since 2000, seniors aged 65 and older, Randall said we have to find a sustainable way to main the health for both younger and older patients.
Although there’s an increase in homecare, there’s also an increase in obesity and diabetes for seniors 65-74, referenced to as “younger seniors.” According to the report, obesity has increased in seniors by 13 percent over six years from 25.3 percent (2013) to 28.5 percent (2019).
“This is a call to action,” said Randall. “You’re never too old to make changes in your lifestyle.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults with obesity are at an increased risk of developing serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
While the nation’s seniors maybe doing worse than years prior, the report ranked Wisconsin as the 10th healthiest state with the greatest improvement in overall health ranking for seniors, which has improved by nine places since 2013.
The report noted that excessive drinking, or binge drinking, was 42 percent higher in 2017 compared to 2002—that’s about 1.2 million young seniors reporting either binge or chronic drinking.
The increase in binge drinking has brought on premature deaths in the younger seniors.
“It’s the third leading cause of death in America,” Randall said about excessive drinking.
Just like obesity and diabetes, these premature deaths can be prevented with health changes, such as drinking alcohol less, exercising more and eating healthier.
For the full report, visit https://www.americashealthrankings.org/learn/reports/2019-seniorreport.