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Minnesota is healthiest state for older adults, report says

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Minnesota is once again atop a list of the nation's healthiest states for seniors.

For the second year in a row, Minnesota was ranked the healthiest place for older adults, according to the Minnetonka-based United Health Foundation's Senior Report, which looks at the health of people over 65.

The report ranks Hawaii second, with New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts rounding out the top five. Mississippi is the least healthiest for seniors, followed by Louisiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Arkansas, the report says.

This was the second year the United Health Foundation published the report, which examines public health data from around the country to identify ways to improve seniors' health.

"The senior population will double in size over the next 25 years," Reed Tuckson, M.D., senior medical adviser to United Health Foundation, said in a news release. “It’s time to shift our focus from how long Americans are living, to how well we're living."

The report found that seniors in Minnesota have a high percentage of dental visits and preventative care, they're staying active and volunteering, they have access to quality nursing homes, prescription drug coverage and home health care options. The state also has a low percentage of food insecurity, the report says.

The report also found that Minnesota has the lowest prevalence of seniors with cognitive difficulties in the nation.

The report found room for improvement, noting that Minnesota could spend more on senior centers and other support activities as well as transportation.

See the breakdown of why Minnesota was ranked No. 1 here.

Nationally, the report found that seniors are more active compared to last year, while preventable hospitalizations dropped and nursing home care improved.

Suzanne Salamon, associate head of geriatrics at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, told USA Today that the report reflects what she sees with her patients.

Minnesota is frequently ranked among the healthiest states in a variety of categories. Earlier this month, a health scorecard found that Minnesota leads the nation in a variety of health indicators, which include vaccinations, insurance coverage and obesity rates.

Last December, a report found Minnesota was among the healthiest, with a lower rate of obesity compared to other states.

Last year, Minneapolis and St. Paul were ranked No. 1 for fitness, making it one of the healthiest metropolitan areas.

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