Special Report

Best States for Healthy Retirement

35. New Mexico
> Pct. 65+ w/ disability: 41.3% (8th highest)
> Pct. 65+ obese: 20.3% (3rd lowest)
> Flu vaccine in past year, 65+: 69.3% (16th highest)
> Life expectancy: 77.9 years (18th lowest)

Falls are the leading cause of deaths from injuries among American seniors. Falls are also the leading cause of non-fatal injuries. A high frequency of falls can indicate difficulties with mobility as well as inadequate physical exercise. In New Mexico, 42.2% of people 65 and older have sustained an injury due to a fall, the largest share of any state in the country.

34. Indiana
> Pct. 65+ w/ disability: 36.2% (10th lowest)
> Pct. 65+ obese: 29.2% (the highest)
> Flu vaccine in past year, 65+: 66.4% (18th lowest)
> Life expectancy: 77.2 years (12th lowest)

Nearly 30% of Indiana’s residents aged 65 and older are obese, a higher proportion than in any other state. Obesity increases the risk of several conditions and life-threatening illnesses among the elderly, including stroke, heart attack, arthritis, and cancer.

33. Tennessee
> Pct. 65+ w/ disability: 38.6% (24th lowest)
> Pct. 65+ obese: 24.7% (23rd highest)
> Flu vaccine in past year, 65+: 66.6% (19th lowest)
> Life expectancy: 76.1 years (8th lowest)

Tennessee is one of only a handful of states where more than half of all retirement age adults have lost at least five teeth. Oral health is important not just for eating and the absence of tooth pain, but is tied to a number of other health conditions. Although often poor tooth health has been linked to poor diet, this does not appear to be the case in Tennessee. In Tennessee, 39.1% of adults 65 and older eat vegetables at least three times a day, the highest share of any state in the country.

32. South Carolina
> Pct. 65+ w/ disability: 39.8% (17th highest)
> Pct. 65+ obese: 26.0% (14th highest)
> Flu vaccine in past year, 65+: 67.4% (24th lowest)
> Life expectancy: 76.5 years (9th lowest)

Falls are the leading cause of death due to injury for America’s elderly. Even falls that do not result in injury can be detrimental to mental well being as they can lower an individual’s perception of their own mobility. In South Carolina, 38.1% of retirement-age adults sustain an injury resulting from a fall each year, the second highest share of any state in the country.

31. Wyoming
> Pct. 65+ w/ disability: 39.0% (24th highest)
> Pct. 65+ obese: 22.8% (12th lowest)
> Flu vaccine in past year, 65+: 65.1% (10th lowest)
> Life expectancy: 78.0 years (19th lowest)

Elderly Wyoming residents are less likely to receive preventative medical treatment than most Americans in the same age group. Certain cancers, such as breast and colon cancer, can be effectively treated if caught early enough. Yet, only 76.9% of women 65 and older in Wyoming have had a mammogram in the past 2 years, and only 67.1% of all retirement age adults have had appropriate colon cancer screening — each among the lowest shares in the country.

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