Report card shows Georgia getting better on senior health

Georgia improved two spots, moving up to No. 41 among states in United Health Foundation’s report card on seniors’ health.

States in the Southeast continue to languish in the bottom quartile of the rankings, released last week. Mississippi was ranked 50th among the states. It was topped by Tennessee (No. 43), Alabama (No. 44), Arkansas (No. 45), Louisiana (No. 48) and Kentucky (No. 49).

The 2019 rankings indicate that poverty among Georgia adults 65 and older decreased from 11.2 percent to 10.1 percent over the past six years, and that over the same period, seniors with “high health status’’ increased from 32.9 percent to 38.2 percent.

The report also notes that Georgia’s strengths include a high rate of hospice care utilization.

But the report shows that excessive drinking and physical inactivity increased over the past two years among Georgia seniors.

“We really want this report to shine some light on data, so states and communities have a call to action,’’ Dr. Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare National Markets, told GHN.

The report rates Hawaii as the healthiest state for seniors, followed by Utah (No. 2), Connecticut (No. 3), Minnesota (No. 4) and Colorado (No. 5).

Randall noted that some states have shown improvement over the seven years of rankings on senior health. Rhode Island, for example, has jumped from No. 30 to No. 7.  But some states have seen declines, such as Kansas and Nebraska, she said.

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