142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Smoking, physical inactivity, and obesity among seniors: Geographic variation and their association with health status

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 : 10:35 AM - 10:50 AM

Sarah Milder, MPH , Arundel Street Consulting, Saint Paul, MN
Benjamin Kofoed , Division of Health Policy & Management, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Tom Eckstein, MBA , Arundel Street Consulting, St. Paul, MN

Health behaviors have immediate and/or delayed impact on the overall health of seniors.  America’s Health Rankings Senior Report examines health determinants and outcomes by state.


Our objective is to describe the geographic variation in health behaviors of seniors by state, and to measure associations between behaviors and high health status.


Using data from the 2014 edition of America’s Health Rankings Senior Report, the correlation between  state values of 3 behavior measures (smoking, obesity and physical inactivity) and the outcome measure high (very good or excellent) health status were examined.


All 3 behaviors were inversely associated with high health status among seniors, with physical inactivity as the strongest predictor. The higher the rate of physically inactive seniors, the lower the rate of seniors with high health status (r=-0.749, p<0.001). Physical inactivity among seniors varied from 22.4% in California to 42.0% in Kentucky. Similarly, the higher the smoking rate among seniors, the lower the rate of seniors with high health status (r=-0.472, p<0.001). Smoking among seniors varied from a low of 4.7% in Utah to high of 14.3% in Nevada. Finally, the higher the obesity rate among seniors, the lower the rate of seniors reporting high health status r=-0.324, p=0.05). Obesity among seniors varies from 14.1% in Hawaii to 30.4% in Louisiana.


Improving modifiable health behaviors, such as physical inactivity, smoking, and obesity may lead to better health status among seniors. Programs that focus on these behaviors may increase state rates of high health status.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the association between health behaviors (smoking, obesity and physical inactivity) and high health status. Discuss the extent of geographic variation among these health behaviors by state.

Keyword(s): Aging, Wellness

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have co-authored America's Health Rankings since 2011 and was part of the team that developed the first America's Health Ranking Senior Report in 2013. I have a MPH in maternal and child health epidemiology from the University of Minnesota.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
United Health Foundation Population research 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.