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America’s Health Rankings® and America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report were built upon the World Health Organization (WHO) definition of health: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Our model reflects that determinants of health directly influence health outcomes, with determinants accounting for three-quarters and outcomes accounting for one-quarter of each state’s overall score and ranking. Four categories of determinants are included in our model of health: Behaviors, Community & Environment, Policy, and Clinical Care.
America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report offers a comprehensive analysis of senior population health on a national and state-by-state basis across 35 measures of senior health. Now in its fourth year, the report serves to:
  1. Help states prepare for the rapid growth of their senior population. The US senior population is projected to grow 49.5% by 2030. The senior growth rate varies from 33.4% in New York to 85.1% in Alaska. This surge along with the increasing rates of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases are poised to overwhelm our health care system.
  2. Provide a benchmark of state senior health. State level data allow states to monitor trends over time and to compare senior health measures with other states and the nation.
  3. Stimulate discussion and action. The report’s purpose is to kindle and continue to fuel dialogue among individuals, community leaders, policymakers, public health of cials, and the media by providing accurate, reliable, and trustworthy information based on a holistic view of health.
Each year America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report enumerates the strengths, challenges, and health highlights of every state to start a shared discussion. The measures used to define health are dependent on each other and intermingled in every aspect of what we do, where we live, care we receive, and outcomes we experience. Example: A community’s effort to reduce physical inactivity could affect obesity, management of joint pain, frequency of falls, effectiveness of diabetes management, etc.
This year, the report looks ahead at the challenges that will impact the senior population in the next 15 years. Not only will the next generation of seniors rapidly grow in numbers, but the next group of seniors are projected to have higher rates of obesity and diabetes and a lower rate of excellent or very good health status. The good news is they smoke less than the current generation of seniors.
This report builds an informational base and creates awareness — the vital step is to take action. Visual tool are available to illustrate which health measures have the greatest impact on each state rank.
Selection Process for the 35 Measures The selection of the 35 measures that make up America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report is driven by these five factors:
  1. The overall measures represent a broad range of issues that affect senior health.
  2. Individual measures meet commonly accepted health-measurement criteria.
  3. Data are available at the state level.
  4. Data are current and updated periodically.
  5. The aspect being measured is amenable to change.
While imperfect, these 35 measures are some of the best available indicators of the various aspects of senior health. An additional seven supplemental measures are provided that provide further context to more fully describe the population health.

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