Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma Ranked 49th for Senior Health

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma Ranked 49th for Senior Health

Article excerpt

Oklahoma ranked 49th for senior health, according to the inaugural edition of a United Health Foundation report.

The foundation commissioned the report, "America's Health Rankings Senior Report: A Call to Action for Individuals and Their Communities," to examine the health challenges affecting seniors and to encourage the nation and local communities to find ways to improve senior health.

Among all 50 states, Minnesota was ranked first for senior health, followed by Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Iowa. Mississippi ranked 50th with Oklahoma ranked 49th, Louisiana 48th, West Virginia 47th and Arkansas 46th.

"United Health Foundation's America's Health Rankings Senior Report is a highly valuable tool to help gain a greater understanding of the health challenges faced by Oklahoma seniors," said Marshall Dawer, market medical director for UnitedHealthcare. "Oklahoma's growing senior population points to the urgency of identifying key opportunities for improving senior health and pursuing effective solutions at the national, state, community and family levels."

The America's Health Rankings Senior Report assesses state-level performance on 34 different elements, including both health determinants and health outcomes.

The report found that Oklahoma has its share of strengths as well as challenges for senior health.

Oklahoma's strengths included low prevalence of chronic drinking, high percentage of hospice care and a high percentage of social support.

Oklahoma's challenges include low prevalence of dental visits, low prevalence of health screenings and a high rate of hospitalization for hip fractures.

Oklahoma results in the report included:

* There is a high geriatrician shortfall in Oklahoma, with 83 percent of geriatricians needed.

* Oklahoma has one of the highest percentages of underweight seniors at 3. …

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