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The Takeaway: Active Retirees Drawn To College Towns; America's Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) States

Retirement U: The college campuses and towns of the not-so-distant future are likely to be filled with more seniors than ever before-and we're not talking about upperclassmen.  According to USA Today, colleges and universities are actively recruiting retirees and older adults to campus life, offering free or discounted classes, lectures and performances. Some are even partnering with local retirement communities. And active retirees are digging it.

Take Al Green, a 1947 Penn State graduate who moved into The Village, a continuing care residence near campus, after initially retiring to Florida.

We were tired of looking at old people, and we wanted to get to a place where there was a little more vibrancy, a little more to do," said Green. ... On a recent fall weekend, he was juggling sporting events, a bridge game and drinks with friends.

See Also: 10 Affordable Cities for Retirement >> 

Many of today's retirees seek intellectually or culturally stimulating activities to fill their newly free time-they want to take classes, attend sporting events, attend concerts and plays, meet new people and learn new things. But while bigger cities may be high on culture and things to do, they can also be prohibitively expensive for those living on a limited income, or ill-suited for aging. College towns, by contrast, are often walkable, slower-paced and with a reasonable cost-of-living. And,  as president of Bankers Life and Casualty Company  Scott Perry points out, there are health benefits, too: Many large universities will have teaching hospitals and even dental schools which provide health services for seniors. "They raise the quality of care in the community," said Perry.

Healthiest States: The United Health Foundation's 2011 America's Health Rankings are out, and Vermont continues its reign as the healthiest U.S. state for the fifth year in a row. Rounding out the top five healthiest states are New Hampshire, Connecticut, Hawaii and Massachusetts.

The rankings are based on 23 factors, including smoking, drinking, diabetes, high school graduation, immunization and obesity rates.

Mississippi was ranked the least healthy state, based in part on its high prevalence of obesity and high percentage of children living in poverty. The other least-healthy states were all southern, as well: Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Alabama.

America's overall health remained unchanged in 2011, despite modest decreases in smoking and preventable hospitalizations, the report said. These improvements were all outweighed by major increases in obesity and diabetes. For every person who quit smoking in 2011, another person became obese.

Thursday Quick Hits: 

  • A federal panel says men with low-risk prostate cancer should delay treatment. There is no convincing evidence that surgery or radiation therapy increases survival, and there is good evidence that those procedures worsen quality of life, the panel concluded.

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