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Many Older Americans Not Getting Recommended Preventive Services

Doctor Taking Blood Pressure

The following is a guest post by Yolanda Taylor, integrated communication director at AARP.

It takes more than an apple a day to keep the doctor away. If you want to age well, maintaining a healthy lifestyle - along with having routine recommended screenings and immunizations - is critical.

However, fewer than a third of the 60 million Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 are up-to-date with many recommended preventive services; 44 percent have high blood pressure; and 33 percent are obese, according to a report released today from the AARP Public Policy Institute.

The report highlights disparities across racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups, as well as across health insurance coverage status. It found, for example, that uninsured women between the ages of 50 and 64 were 41 percent less likely to have a mammogram than insured women. And older adults with low income were nearly 30 percent less likely to receive the flu vaccine than those with higher income. The report includes an interactive online tool that allows users to rank their own states and compare them it to national rates.

"It is evident that the need for improved access to low- or no-cost preventive services - like measures contained in the Affordable Care Act - as well as increased public awareness, are vital to improving the health of many Americans," said Susan Reinhard, senior vice president and director, AARP Public Policy Institute. "Maintaining your health is critical to living your life to the fullest, especially for midlife adults. Taking advantage of preventive services is an important way to do just that."

Read full report:  "Use of Clinical Preventive Services and Prevalence of Health Risk Factors Among Adults Aged 50-64"

Use online tool: State Preventive Care Rankings for Midlife Adults

Photo credit:  By Bill Branson via Wikimedia Commons


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