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Report ranks Iowa 20th in nation for senior health

A new report ranked Iowa 20th in the nation for senior health.
Matt Bennett
A new report ranked Iowa 20th in the nation for senior health.

A new report has ranked Iowa 20th in the nation overall for senior health.

The 11th annual America’s Health Rankings report by the United Health Care Foundation looks at more than 50 factors that affect seniors’ health.

It found Iowa seniors have low rates of frequent mental distress and food insecurity.

But Archana Dubey, the chief medical officer at United Healthcare, said Iowa still lags behind the national average in some important categories.

" Nationally, we [have] improved on internet access. But we noticed that in Iowa, we could do better," she said. "So there is a lower percentage of household connectivity to high speed internet."

The report found 79% of Iowa households with people age 65 and older have high speed internet, compared to 83% nationally.

High speed internet is important to ensure seniors can be connected to things like virtual medical care, Dubey said.

Iowa also ranks low for the number of geriatric health care providers, but that’s improving, she said.

"There is a definite increase in geriatric providers. That's something that I did notice, [a] 19% increase in physicians who are practicing this specialty," Dubey said.

Iowa's senior ranking improved slightly from last year when it was ranked 21st in the nation.

Natalie Krebs is IPR's Health Reporter
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