Arizona’s overall state health rank was a disappointing 29th in the 2014 United Health Foundation (UHF) Healthiest State Report. This year, the United Health Foundation released another report – this one focusing on the health of seniors. Arizona again failed to crack the Top 20 finishing at number 22 (Vermont, New Hampshire, and Minnesota finished 1-2-3 among seniors).
From our blog address to the banner on the front of our page, we’ve made it pretty clear what our goal is: Making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation. Part of accomplishing that goal is understanding where we stand right now, what our state’s strengths are for health and where we need to do a better job. An overall rank of 29 and a seniors rank of 22 shows us that we still have a lot of work to do.
From 2000-2010, Arizona saw the 4th biggest increase in senior population of any state in the country. As a state well-known for its warm weather and beautiful retirement communities, it’s likely that we’ll continue to see more seniors in our state. So, how can we improve our senior health ranking?
Right now, Arizona seniors have a higher prevalence of chronic drinking than many other states as well as a lower percentage with a dedicated provider. Rhode Island leads the way with 97.5% of seniors with a doctor or health care provider they regularly report to, while only 91.5% of Arizona seniors can say the same.
But there are some highlights in the UHF report, with Arizona’s percentage of seniors facing chronic obesity in the bottom five states and a 17% decrease in smoking among seniors over the past year.
The numbers show that we can make some health progress for seniors in Arizona by simply setting up regular doctors visits and cutting back on how many adult beverages seniors consume.
Clearly, Arizona’s seniors are doing a lot of things right, but we need to find ways to do even better. Our goal is not to sit in the middle of the pack. We want to be THE healthiest state in the nation and a few easy steps for seniors could help get us there.