A recent report on the health condition of Americaâ€™s senior population has found increased rates of diabetes, obesity, and various other serious diseases. The report published by the UHF (United Health Foundation) also compares health of senior citizens across all the states to identify the regions, which fare the best in senior health.
The reportâ€™s findings are based on an extensive survey focusing on no less than 34 parameters of health status among the elderly population in the country. Given the scope and thoroughness of the research, its conclusions need to be analyzed to improve the health conditions of senior men and women.
Health Parameters and Determinants the Report Focuses On
A host of factors or determinants contributes to a healthy senior population. The report classifies these factors into broad groups to present a true picture of the health problems faced by the aged.
Some of the important measures that the report uses are:
- Behavioral Parameters – These include behavior-related health issues that afflict the elderly population. The individual measures range from chronic smoking or drinking, irregular visit to the physician or dentist, to medical conditions born out of physical inactivity. A healthy lifestyle is the first step towards good health. The report emphasizes this point by including several behavioral parameters in its study.
- Environment and Community Parameters – These include determinants for living conditions of the senior population. Factors such as poverty levels of the elderly, social and community support, and food insecurity are covered under this category.
- Policy Parameters – Healthcare facilities for senior citizens in many states of America fall short of quality standards and are inadequate. This group of measures takes into account the healthcare deficiencies across different states against policy requirements.
- Clinical Attention Parameters – Hospitals and clinics have a responsibility towards providing medical care to the elderly population. Senior citizens are vulnerable to numerous health conditions because of their old age and special attention needs to be paid to their health. The clinical attention determinants measure the performances of Americaâ€™s states for quality medical care to the elderly population.
Americaâ€™s Healthiest Regions
Riding on low levels of insecurity among the elderly concerning food, great record in drug coverage, and easy availability of assisted living professionals, Minnesota came first as Americaâ€™s most healthy state. Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont round out the list for Americaâ€™s five most healthy states.
Deteriorating Health of the Elderly
If the findings of the report are to be believed, a lot more work will have to be done to improve the health of senior members of the society. The report discovered that close to 80% of senior citizens suffer from one chronic disease, or the other. High Blood Pressure, heart-related ailments, and dementia seem to dominate. Many of them even have multiple chronic health problems.
Obesity among senior members seems to have risen, and is fast becoming a major health concern. According to the report, 25% of the elderly population is obese.
Lack of physical activity is reported in 30% of the elderly population, while addictive smoking in 9%.
These figures paint a grim picture of the health condition of senior members. What is needed is a nationwide appraisal on all the determinants of the report, to rectify the mistakes that have been made.