EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSHuntington Residents Work To Promote Active Lifestyles For Those 65 and Up
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Darrah Wilcox
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Also Contributing: Associated Press
Reported: Jul. 19, 2013 8:50 AM EDT
Updated: Jul. 21, 2013 3:14 AM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
According to a recent Center for Disease Control study, in West Virginia, those older than 65 are expected to live an average of another 17.5 years, 11 of those in poor health.
Some folks in Huntington are trying to block that trend.
Frances Hensley will be 65 in six months, but she is not letting the survey results get her down.
"I thought, ‘You know what, that's not me,’" she said.
In fact, since she retired, Hensley said she is more active than ever.
"I work with a trainer once a week,” she said. “I go to a fitness class once a week. I do yoga twice a week. I get up in the morning and I walk."
She and her family are even in the midst of a friendly 'Biggest Loser'-type competition.
"My whole family has become a lot more conscious of what we eat and how we eat and exercise," she said.
Hensley is not alone. That's why there are plenty of programs tailored to a more mature crowd. At the Huntington YMCA, they offer Senior Wise for folks 50 and older and Silver Sneakers for 65 and older.
"If you have problems with knees or joints or something like that, it sort of takes the shock off the joints so that it provides a little smoother workout," personal trainer Jodi Parker said.
She said it is never too late to get started.
"You start somewhere, on a baseline, and then can grow and increase from there," Parker said.
Hensley, who also stays busy volunteering at the Wild Ramp, said you don't have to become a statistic.
"You can say that's not going to be me, I'm going to live a different lifestyle, and you can start very slowly," she said.
A study found that West Virginia had among the lowest numbers in states for life expectancy and healthy life expectancy for residents 65 years and over.
Retirement-age Mississippians fared worst, with only about 17.5 more years remaining and nearly seven of them in poorer health, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
After Mississippi, Kentucky, West Virginia and Alabama had the lowest numbers for both life expectancy and healthy life expectancy. States with the best numbers included Florida — a magnet for healthy retirees — as well as Connecticut and Minnesota.
In West Virginia, people 65 years or older were expected to live 17.5 more years and 11 of those in poor health.
Meanwhile, if you are 65 and living in Hawaii, here’s some good news: odds are you’ll live another 21 years. And for all but five of those years, you’ll likely be in pretty good health.
Hawaii tops the charts in the government’s first state-by-state look at how long Americans age 65 can expect to live, on average, and how many of those remaining years will be healthy ones.
The state average for life expectancy for those 65 and older was 19.1 years with 13.9 of those in poor health.
The estimates were made using 2007 through 2009 data from the census, death certificates and telephone surveys that asked people to describe their health. The CDC’s Paula Yoon cautioned not to make too much of the differences between states. Results could have been swayed, for example, by how people in different states interpreted and answered the survey questions.
To see the report, visit this site.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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