A top 10 finish in the national health rankings is pretty solid. If you’re in the top 20 then there’s still work to be done, but you’re not far off. However, Arizona didn’t even crack the top 25 in the United Health Foundation’s recent Senior health rankings.
According to the report, our state’s overall rank is 27. Arizona’s strengths were:
- High hospice care use,
- Low rate of preventable hospitalizations,
- Low prevalence of obesity.
The biggest challenges….
- Low flu vaccination coverage,
- Low SNAP enrollment,
- Limited availability of home-delivered meals.
Although our state’s low prevalence of obesity is listed as a strength – a story in Becker’s Hospital Review pointed out why that could change dramatically as we move into the future.
Eleven states are expected to see a 50 percent or greater increase in the number of seniors by 2030, along with a 20 percent or greater increase in the prevalence of obesity compared to the current population of seniors when they were middle-aged. The prevalence of obesity among current middle-aged individuals in Arizona is 96 percent higher than when the current population of seniors was middle-aged — the most dramatic increase of any state.
According to a story in U.S. News & World Report, Arizona isn’t the only state facing serious health challenges for seniors. “A new report projects that baby boomers will be sicker than previous generations when they hit their golden years……The report examined the middle-aged population in 1999 and in 2014 and found today’s middle-aged adults have a 55 percent higher prevalence of diabetes and a 25 percent higher prevalence of obesity.”
While it’s clear that Arizona isn’t the only state with senior health issues, we need to do better than a national rank of 27 (Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire were the top 3). Share your thoughts on how we can improve Arizona’s ranking and how we can build on our state’s strengths and battle some of the biggest challenges. Working together to find solutions will be critical if we hope to reach our goal of one day, not only cracking the top 10, but making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!