Health snap-shot of growing senior population

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America’s senior population will grow by more than 50 percent in the next 15 years. In 2011, the first of more than 70 million baby boomers turned 65, marking the beginning of a tremendous demographic shift in the U.S. population. Americans are living longer lives, but they are also living sicker lives as more and more senior citizens grapple with preventable chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report is the most rigorous rankings to date of seniors’ health on both national and state levels, based upon the findings from data spanning 34 different measures of senior health. The findings offer a mixed picture of senior health, particularly when it comes to key measures including obesity, physical inactivity and poverty.

The report finds that older Americans are experiencing troubling rates of chronic illness, and that seniors’ health challenges will lead to severe economic consequences if left unaddressed.

Reed Tuckson, M.D., senior adviser for United Health Foundation, talks about where Pennsylvania ranks when it comes to senior health. He discusses what health conditions our seniors are suffering from and what health costs are associated with them.