By Christina Sturgis
In an analysis of obesity, smoking, diabetes and physical inactivity and other factors, Ohio ranks 28th in the nation for senior health according to the United Health Foundation. This is much better than the No. 40 ranking the Buckeye State received for overall health by the same organization.
The healthiest senior states are scattered about in New England and the Midwest. The top 5 in order are Minnesota, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Iowa. The five bottom-ranked states are clustered in the South: Arkansas, West Virginia, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Mississippi.
Interestingly, Ohio scored No. 44 for obesity but much better, No. 27, on physical inactivity. Streetsboro residents may wish to check out the Senior Center for exercise classes, including strength and tone, chair volleyball and line dancing.
Ohio ranked 33rd on the survey for smoking tobacco. The state’s health department created an information page to help residents looking to quit smoking well as ways to prevent and control diabetes. Ohio ranked No. 32 for avoiding this debilitating illness.
Those same factors contributed to a scathing report in neighboring Pennsylvania on the health of the citizens of its largest city, Philadelphia. The report, County Health Ratings and Road Maps, was prepared by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Portage County ranked 20th compared to the Buckeye State’s 88 counties.
The good news is that Ohio has a low prevalence of underweight seniors, a low prevalence of activity-limiting arthritis pain and a high percentage of seniors with insurance coverage for prescription drugs. Ohio scored No. 11 nationwide for avoidance of chronic drinking, a behavior that diminishes the health of 2.6 percent of adults 65 and older. The percentage in Alaska, ranked 40th overall, was 6.8 percent.