Iowa has dropped a few spots in an annual ranking of the states on the health of adults aged 65 and older. The United Health Foundation’s report places Iowa 13th in the nation for senior health, down from 7th last year.
Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) medical director Dr. Patricia Quinlisk says there’s plenty of positive news in the report, such as Iowa’s best-in-the-nation influenza vaccination rate among seniors. “This means we do a pretty good job at protecting our seniors against one of the top 10 causes of death and that’s influenza and pneumonia,” Quinlisk says.
The report shows just over 70-percent of Iowans 65-and-older got the flu vaccine last year. Nearly 30-percent of Iowa seniors are listed as being obese, placing the state as one of the worst in the nation in that category. “This is an issue, obviously, because obesity can lead to other issues like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and other things that can very significantly impact our seniors and their health,” Quinlisk says.
She notes the IDPH has several programs in place that are designed to improve older Iowans’ health. “We have quite a few programs that are trying to encourage people to get out there and move,” Quinlisk says. “Movement is basically anything that gets you up and off the couch, so you’re moving. It could be anything from walking around the block to gardening. It doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym, wearing workout clothes, and things like that.”
Volunteerism among Iowa seniors ranks 6th in the nation, according to the America’s Health Rankings Senior Report.
Link to America’s Health Rankings Senior Report: