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New Health Report Shows Older Kentuckians Staying Out of Hospitals More and Worst on Exercise

Ulrich Derboven /Unsplash

A new national report shows Kentucky’s older adults are doing better at getting primary care that prevents hospitalization, but they’re faring worst in the nation when it comes to exercise. 

The study, “America’s Health Rankings: Senior Report 2021,” looks at social and economic factors, home environment, clinical care and individual behaviors.

United Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rhonda Randall is a geriatrician who said Kentuckians face some major challenges, with the state ranking 50th in exercise and nutrition for adults 65 and over. 

“It’s important for seniors to continue to stay physically active because it’s important for our independent living as we age,” said Randall. “We also see Kentucky challenged with a high poverty rate and a high rate of teeth extractions. Dental care also very important. We know that there are strong correlations between our dental health and our overall health.”

Randall says some positive factors for Kentucky’s senior citizens include a low percentage of excessive drinking and a low prevalence of avoiding health care due to cost. The state ranks 7th in both of those categories.

Some other findings include in the past four years, food insecurity increased ten percent for adults age 60 and over, and in the past two years, depression increased 25 percent in adults 65 and older. 

The study looked at 49 measures of health from 22 public health sources. 

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