142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Geographic variation and correlates of premature mortality among seniors

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 : 11:20 AM - 11:35 AM

Anna Schenck, PhD, MSPH , Public Health Leadership Program, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC
Background -The Americas Health Ranking Senior Report illustrates geographic variation in health and related outcomes among seniors. 

Objective-Our objective was to examine the geographic variation in premature mortality among seniors and identify characteristics of states with low premature mortality. 

Methods-Measures from the Americas Health Rankings Senior Report were used to identify correlates of state rates of premature mortality among seniors, defined as the number of deaths per 100,000 among persons age 65-74.  Regression models were used to examine associations between premature mortality and community and environmental characteristics (education, food insecurity community support for seniors and poverty levels), health behaviors (smoking, obesity, inactivity, and provider variables (geriatrician shortfall and dedicated health provider).

Results - Death rates among seniors age 65-74 in Mississippi were 1.8 times those of seniors in Hawaii.  Smoking and obesity rates among seniors were significantly associated with premature mortality (p<0.05) and together explained 61% of the variation in mortality across states. Levels of education, food insecurity, and levels of social support were also significantly associated with premature senior mortality.  Preventable hospitalization rates, a factor influenced by both the underlying health of seniors and available community resources, were also significantly related to premature mortality.

Discussion -Premature death rates among seniors vary by geography.  Much of the variation in mortality can be explained by behavioral and community support factors amenable to intervention.  Opportunities exist for states to improve the health of their seniors.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify potential areas for states to intervene to improve the health of their senior population.

Keyword(s): Mortality, Aging

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the chair of the scientific advisory committee for the Americas Health Ranking, which produces the senior index, the subject of this presentation. I am on faculty at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and teach research methods. I have a doctoral degree in epidemiology. Additionally, I have 15 years experience researching the health needs of seniors.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.