Minnesota tops the list of healthiest states for older adults for the second consecutive year, according to data compiled by UnitedHealth Foundation for its second America’s Health Rankings Senior Report.
Hawaii is ranked second, followed by New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts. Mississippi ranks 50th as the least healthy state while Louisiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Arkansas fill out the bottom five slots.
Minnesota cleaned up thanks to ranking first for all health determinants combined, including ranking in the top five states for a high rate of annual dental visits, quality nursing home beds, prescription drug coverage, low percentage of marginal food insecurity and ready availability of home health care workers. Minnesota also ranks second for all health outcomes combined including low hospitalization rate for hip fractures, high percentage of able-bodied seniors, low premature death rate, low prevalence of full-mouth tooth extractions and few poor mental health days per month.
Similar to the top ranked states, the states that rank in the bottom five states for overall health also rank in the bottom five for all health determinants.
Nationally, the 2014 edition said several metrics improved since last year’s inaugural report, including that more seniors are active, pursuing preferred options for end-of-life care, avoiding preventable hospitalizations and having access to improved quality nursing home care. A few measures show challenges to overall health including a decrease in flu vaccination coverage and an increase in food insecurity.