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NC Seniors Rank 29th In Overall Healthiness

6:20 AM, May 30, 2013   |    comments
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WFMY -- Adults today are living longer than generations before us. While that sounds like great news, there are some serious concerns about our seniors' health.

America's Health Rankings took a comprehensive look at the overall healthiness of our senior population.

The study found seniors are living 30 years longer than their grandparents, but they're also living sicker.

"The numbers are that 80 percent of Americans today, who are seniors, are suffering from a chronic illness, or another. And 50 percent are suffering from two or more, 36 percent are suffering from four or more [chronic illnesses]," said Dr. Reed Tuckson, with United Health Foundation.

Tuckson said the most prevalent chronic illnesses are diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and arthritis.

So where does North Carolina stack up?

Tuckson said the the report shows North Carolina is 29th in overall healthiness.

He said we're doing some things that are important, but we're also facing some serious challenges.

According to Tuckson, almost 30 percent of North Carolina's seniors, who are physically able to be active, are not.

"They're doing nothing more than getting up in the morning, cooking, putting on their clothes, going to sit on the couch. They're not being physically active. And that bodes poorly for their overall health," said Tuckson. "And their mental health in the years to come."

Also in North Carolina, seven percent of seniors, who are living in nursing homes, are actually able to live at home, but they don't have the support system to do that.

The study also highlights another concern -- 16 percent of North Carolina seniors are going to bed at night, worried about food.

"We call that food insecurity," said Tuckson. "And it's hard to imagine, in a society as rich and blessed as ours, that we would have that many people worried about food. And what that also means of course, is that will have a bad influence on health."

Tuckson said as a community, we need to have a conversation and look for answers to reduce costs.

If you want to contribute your ideas, visit America's Heath Rankings website.



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