Study: sedate seniors lack proper diet, exercise.
The associations' third annual report, "The State of Aging and Health in America," stated that one-third of adults older than 65 are not taking part in any leisure-time physical activities. Two-thirds of older adults are not eating the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. And, 20 percent of older adults are considered obese--at least 30 pounds above their recommended weight.
The most important factor in maintaining good physical and mental health among seniors is to promote a healthier lifestyle, according to the report.
Unfortunately, that message doesn't always get through to older Americans, said Patricia Barry, executive director of the Merck Institute of Aging & Health in Washington, D.C.
"We believe this report poses one simple question: Are older adults doing all they can to enjoy the best possible health? Unfortunately, the answer is no," Barry said. "Adults are getting the message about the Importance of preventive care. But we must all ensure that they also get the message about the importance of healthy behaviors."
Otherwise, she continued, the words of famed ragtime musician and composer Eubie Blake--who lived a mere 100 years--might come back to haunt today's seniors: "If I had known how long I was going to live, I would've taken better care of myself."
The study also offered a report card on whether states (including Washington, D.C., for this study) are meeting federal goals for health status, health behavior and the use of preventative services among older Americans. None of them met all 15 federal targets, but several states did rank in the top five nationwide on achieving most of their goals.
Hawaii ranked in the top five in nine of 15 areas, followed by Minnesota with eight of 15, Colorado with five of 15, and District of Columbia and Oregon, each with four of 15.
Highs and Lows The best- and worst-ranked states in The State of Aging and Health in America's report card on healthy aging among seniors: Indicator Worst-ranked Best-ranked state state Fewest physically unhealthy days West Virginia Hawaii Least frequent mental distress Kentucky Iowa Least amount of complete tooth loss Kentucky California, Hawaii Lowest percentage of disability Kentucky Hawaii No leisurely physical Tennessee Hawaii activity in past month Eating 5+ fruits and vegetables daily Louisian Virginia Percent of obese seniors Michigan Hawaii Percent of seniors currently smoking Kentucky Utah Gave flu vaccine to seniors in 2002 Florida Minnesota Ever had pneumonia vaccine District North Dakota of Columbia Gave mammograms in past 2001-02 Oklahoma Rhode Island Ever had sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy Nebraska Minnesota Up to date on preventive Missouri Minnesota services--men Up to date on preventive Louisiana Minnesota services--women Percent with cholesterol Idaho District checked since 2001 of Columbia Source: Centers for Orsease Control and Prevention, Merck Institute of Aging & Health
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|Publication:||Contemporary Long Term Care|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2005|
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Food and nutrition
Long term care