Most working Americans spend roughly five decades in the labor force, supporting themselves, their families, and saving for retirement. For many, financial stability is the foremost concern for a comfortable retirement. However, the opportunities that open up in retirement and the quality of life in old age depend a great deal on one thing: health.
The health of older Americans varies considerably across the country and between states. 24/7 Wall St. used 17 health indicators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Healthy Aging Program” to assess the health of Americans 65 and older in each state. These health indicators are grouped into three categories: preventive care, behaviors, and health outcomes.
Staying up-to-date on key preventive care services, as well as maintaining healthy behaviors such as eating a nutritious diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and refraining from tobacco use, all help reduce the risk of adverse health outcomes in old age. These healthy habits are common among older residents of the states at the top of this list.
Life expectancy at birth also tends to be higher in the states with the healthiest 65 and older populations. While a long life is not necessarily a healthy one, longevity is one of the best indicators of health in a community as it usually results from health institutions functioning effectively. In old age, which is often characterized by more frequent doctor visits, the quality of an area’s health care system can matter a great deal.