Online Program

A comprehensive look at senior population health: America's health rankings senior report

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sarah Milder, MPH, Arundel Street Consulting, Saint Paul, MN
Shelly Espinosa, MPH, United Health Foundation, Minnetonka, MN
Tom Eckstein, MBA, Arundel Street Consulting, St. Paul, MN
Background: With the burgeoning senior population, advances in life expectancy, and rising rates of chronic diseases, taking a comprehensive look at the health and well-being of our nation's seniors is necessary to determine health priorities. Methods: A panel of experts in senior health identified 34 metrics from data sources that are uniformly collected and periodically updated in all 50 states. The metrics represent 5 components of health: 1) Behaviors, 2) Community & Environment (macro and micro), 3) Public & Health Policy, 4) Clinical Care and 5) Health Outcomes. States are ranked on each metric, and overall. Each metric is ranked according to value. In addition, a z-score is calculated for each measure. The overall ranking is based on a weighted z-score. Results: Minnesota ranked first as the healthiest state for seniors. Vermont is ranked second, followed by New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Iowa. Mississippi ranked 50th as the least healthy state for older adults. Oklahoma, Louisiana, West Virginia, and Arkansas complete the bottom 5 states. Nationally, 30.3 percent of seniors in fair or better health report being physically inactive and 25.3 percent are obese. On average, 9.3 percent of seniors live in poverty and 12.2 percent of nursing home residents are low-care. Discussion: By assessing the current status of senior health, communities, governments, individuals, families, and other organizations can build awareness of the breadth of issues facing our seniors—and, by extension, our communities—and learn where and how to take action to improve the health of our current and future seniors.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe an epidemiological tool designed to stimulate public health action and improve senior population health. Identify opportunities and challenges for improving senior health in each state.

Keyword(s): Aging, Health Indices

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I developed the original state health rankings in conjunction with a Delphi panel of 12 individuals from academia, public health departments and private, non-profit organizations. I have remained with the state health rankings for the last 24 years and, in coordination with the Scientific Advisory Committee, I am responsible for the collection, analysis and publication of findings each year. I have a BS in Engineering and an MBA in New Business Development.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
United Health Foundation Population Health Independent Contractor (contracted research and clinical trials)

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.