Senior Health Report

american health rankingsAmerica’s Health Rankings released its second annual report on senior population health at the state and national levels. The data from America’s Health Rankings 2014 Senior Report shows Tennessee Ranks 43rd in the country for the health of its seniors, down one place from 42nd in 2013 after accounting for an update in the study’s methodology.*
This analysis reflects the health of Tennessee seniors on 34 measures of health, including prevalence of obesity, chronic health conditions, level of physical activity, food insecurity and poverty.
Tennessee’s low rank can be attributed to multiple factors, including:
• The second highest rate of smoking in the country, at 12.5 percent or 110,000 seniors who smoke,
• Ranking 46th for preventable hospitalizations, with 80.8 preventable hospitalizations per 1,000 Medicare discharges,
• High rates of hip fractures (47th) and teeth extractions (45th), and
• A bottom-10 ranking for food insecurity among seniors for the second year in a row.
Thankfully, the news isn’t all bad for Tennessee seniors. The state ranked well for its low prevalence of chronic drinking among seniors (5th), a high percentage of social support (4th) and high flu vaccination coverage (2nd). The study also shows that physical inactivity among seniors decreased by 22 percent in the past year. The percentage of hospital deaths among seniors also decreased by 22 percent, boosting the state’s ranking on that measure from 45th to 35th.
Tennessee’s senior population is expected to grow by 46.3 percent between 2015 and 2030; that’s why improving the health of our seniors is both a moral and an economic imperative.