By S.E. Slack
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control states that as death rates decline in the United States, the probability of living longer while enduring illness or disability has grown higher for residents across the country. The CDC studied healthy life expectancy (HLE) against general life expectancy and found some surprising differences between the states. Ohio fared well in the study, while Southern states, in particular, scored the lowest.
HLE is a population health measure that combines age-specific mortality with morbidity or health status to estimate expected years of life in good health for persons at a given age. It reflects both quality and quantity of life.
On average, Ohioans can expect to have at least 13 healthy years after age 65. For example, Ohio males currently aged 65 are expected to live another 17 years to age 82. More than 12 of those years are expected to be healthy while five will likely be beset by health and disability issues that will impact their quality of life.
Sixty-five-year-old Ohio females should live slightly longer than their male counterparts to about 80 years. About 14 and a half of those years will be relatively healthy before life quality becomes impaired.
Thirteen Southern states, in contrast, can expect a HLE of less than 13 years. Mississippi scored at the bottom with only 10.8 healthy years expected after age 65. The only Southern state to escape, despite a higher aging population, is Florida.
Some might consider moving to a place like the River City, where 65-year-old males typically live to about 85 years with more than 14 of those years relatively free of health issues. Florida females live to nearly 87 years with more than 16 of those golden years fairly healthy.
Advancements in medicine are helping Ohio improve healthy living rates. Ohio State and Ohio Health officials said the development of their respective stroke telemedicine networks crisscrossing rural Ohio has already saved lives.
Healthy living at any age, according to the Public Health Institute, is good for any community. Healthy people live in healthy communities—and businesses flourish when they help build healthier communities, too.