Louisiana ranks 49th least healthiest state for seniors

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Louisiana ranks the fourth unhealthiest state for adults 65 and older for the second year according to the United Health Foundation’s 11th America’s Health Rankings Senior Report. Chief Medical Officer for the Medicare and Retirement Division Dr. Phillip Painter says there are a number of challenges that weigh against seniors living in the Bayou State.

“There’s a higher level of what we call food insecurities of the ability for seniors to have access let’s say to healthy food. There’s also physical inactivity. They’re not as active as they could or should be.”

The report covers 52 measures providing insights into many of the strengths and areas of improvement in the health of seniors nationally and state-wide. Poverty among seniors statewide rose by 14 percent from 12 percent to 14 percent between 2018 – 2021. Painter says additional funding from the local government could help raise the state ranking.

“Working on things around food insecurities. And I think a lot of this at the local level that’s actionable are some of these social support programs that seniors could use to veil themselves of these different things that could help them stay healthy.”

Access to healthcare, physical environment, social and economic factors, and healthy behaviors play a vital role in the ranking. Painter says there’s still hope for improvement for Louisiana seniors.

“Just those simple things that they can do with just getting out walking, getting outside in the community, and some of  that is also just making sure that they have a safe place in their neighborhood to walk or exercise.”

Louisiana falls below Mississippi which is the unhealthiest state in the nation.

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