COLUMBIA, SC — Want to be healthier when you get old? Stay in school and get a high-paying job. That’s one message in the second America’s Health Rankings Senior Report from the United Health Foundation.
Of course, it helps if you also exercise and eat right, but some of the biggest gaps between groups in overall health are related to education and income, according to the report.
Overall, South Carolina seniors ranked 34th healthiest among states, just like in the foundation’s first senior report last year.
The state’s ranking takes a hit for the high percentage of seniors worried about getting food (14.3 percent), the number of senior smokers (66,000) and the lower percentage of seniors getting flu vaccines (down from 65.2 percent in 2012 to 60.1 percent in 2013).
The state ranks better for its low percentage of seniors in low-care nursing homes and low incidence of activity-limiting arthritis pain.
The statistics also highlighted health gaps based on education and income. Seniors in South Carolina with less than a high school education are more likely to be obese than college grads – 40.9 percent vs. 24.8 percent. Seniors who earned less than $25,000 annually were more likely to be obese than those making $75,000 or more – 39.8 percent vs. 26.7 percent.