Sunday, July 21, 2013
Black Minnesotans who have reached the age of 65 can expect to be healthy for far less of their remaining years than whites, according to new federal government data
A report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concludes that black Minnesotans can expect a little over half of their remaining years - or 57% - to be healthy. On average Minnesotans 65 and older can expect 77.5% of their remaining years to be healthy. But while that is true for whites, black senior citizens will not see as many healthy years. "That is a significant difference," said Paula Yoon, acting director of the Epidemiology and Analysis Program Office at the CDC. "So in Minnesota whites can expect about 15.6 years of healthy life, and blacks have a healthy life expectancy of about 11.5 years," said Yoon. The study marks the first time that the CDC has looked at healthy life expectancy by state. Healthy life expectancy is the proportion of a person's remaining years that they can expect to live in good health. Minnesota is among the top tier of states for life expectancy and good health among people who reach age 65, according to the government data. It also confirms that Minnesota's reputation as a state where people tend to live long, healthy lives remains true for most residents as they reach retirement age. But it reveals that stark health disparities persist among Minnesota seniors, depending on their race and sex. Across the nation, the CDC found that healthy life expectancy for whites was greater than for blacks in all of the states and the District of Columbia. The study also showed that healthy life expectancy for females was greater than for males in all states. It also found that healthy life expectancy for people living in the southern states tended to be lower than for other parts of the country.