A news report from Kaiser Health News reported this week that Minnesota beat out Hawaii and Florida (which didn’t even come close) for the healthiest state in the nation for seniors. Washington came out in the middle of the pack at 15. I’m from northern Minnesota so it’s good to know that its claim to fame extends beyond being a great place to test snowmobiles and winter car batteries. Brrr.
Minnesotans ranked high in volunteering, dental visits, and community behaviors such as reducing depression, tackling obesity and supporting farmers markets. It also ranked high in prescription drug coverage. (Washington came in at 46th in the nation for that last one.)
Where Washington ranks high is in its high percentage of social support and low levels of smoking & physical inactivity and teeth extractions. In contrast, Washingtonians also have a high prevalence of falls and chronic drinking.
I’m not recommending that people move to Minnesota (brrr after all, plus mosquitoes big enough to carry off small children) but honestly if Minnesota can do it, Washington should be able to do it too. We are rapidly moving toward a time when the number of people 65 and over will make up about a quarter of the population. With that many people in that bracket, it is in our nation’s interest (and our own personal interest) to have those people living healthy, productive lives so they don’t become a drain on our resources or their own (which come to think of it results in it being ours again).