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Posted: Wed, 21 May 2014 10:47 CDT
Category: General Health

Iowa Slips and Gains in National Ranking of Senior Health

The United Health Foundation today released its second annual America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report, which focuses on overall health outcomes for adults aged 65 and older. Iowa ranks 13th in the nation for senior health, according to this report; in 2012, Iowa ranked 7th.

“As with all such rankings, this report captures a snapshot in time, and does not offer a full picture of the health of Iowa’s senior population,” said IDPH Director Gerd Clabaugh. “Even so, it offers insights into the successes and challenges the state faces as its population ages.”

A variety of health factors were included in the rankings mechanism, ranging from the percentage of seniors with depression to the percentage of doctors who are dedicated solely to geriatric care. Iowa’s successes include having the highest influenza vaccination coverage among seniors in the nation at 70.1 percent. The percentage of hospital deaths among seniors is low in Iowa, and declined by 24 percent in the past year. Volunteerism among Iowa seniors ranks 6th in the nation.

Challenges facing Iowa’s senior population mirror those of the general population, with obesity at the top of the list. Iowa ranks 48th in the nation, with 29.6 percent of Iowans age 65 and older listed as being obese. The IDPH program called Better Choices, Better Health (also known as the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program) helps adults manage the symptoms of chronic diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes, and focuses on weight management through healthy nutrition and activity. Workshop sessions are held at community-based locations in participating counties. For more information on Better Choices, Better Health, visit

To view the entire America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report, including Iowa-specific information, visit

Contact Information: Polly Carver-Kimm at (515) 281-6693

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