Good health after age 65 may be linked to where you live
People living in southern states, regardless of race, have a lower healthy life expectancy (HLE) than others across the U.S., according to new analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC defines HLE as a measure that estimates the expected years of life in good health at a given age. In this case, the CDC is measuring from age 65.
“Where you live in the United States shouldn’t determine how long and how healthy you live – but it does, far more than it should,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, in a news release. “Not only do people in certain states and African-Americans live shorter lives, they also live a greater proportion of their last years in poor health. It will be important moving forward to support prevention programs that make it easier for people to be healthy no matter where they live.”
On the extremes, Hawaiians have the highest ELE at just over 16 years. The lowest ELE is among those living in Mississippi at 10.8 years, the CDC said.
Perhaps not surprisingly, females’ overall HLE was greater than males by 3 years in the best states.
Researchers say the numbers are important because they can help predict health care trends allowing for clinicians and government leaders to design programs and strategies that can meet those needs.
Sue Durkin, a geriatric nurse at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill. says the report is a good reminder for seniors to pay close attention to their health. “Early screening for heart disease, diabetes and vascular disorders may prevent a chronic disease condition as we age. Maintaining a healthy weight and a tobacco free environment are measures that each individual has within their own power to do.”
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