No surprise here: Having money makes it likelier that you'll be healthy in retirement. Almost 60 percent of people older than 65 who are in the highest income group rate their health as very good or excellent, according to a study by the United Health Foundation, using numbers primarily derived from U.S. government statistics. By comparison, only about 25 percent of those in the lowest income group say their health is very good or excellent.
The study says that suffering a chronic condition is linked to economic stability in retirement, with roughly 66 percent of all Medicare spending going to people with more than five chronic conditions. How do you avoid a chronic condition? United Health points to these four behaviors as leading to chronic illness.
Smoking. Smoking is estimated to cost $96 billion annually in medical expenses as well as $97 billion in lost productivity. It affects not only smokers themselves, but can lead to heart disease and lung cancer in adults who share the household.
Drinking too much. Excessive alcohol consumption leads to liver and cardiovascular diseases. It is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
Obesity. More than 200,000 deaths annually in the U.S. are attributed to obesity, with $147 billion spent in 2008 on obesity or obesity-related health issues.
Living the sedentary life. Physical inactivity increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension and obesity. United Health Foundation points out that physical inactivity is responsible for an estimated $24 billion in direct medical spending and almost 200,000, or one in 10, U.S. deaths annually.
Where you live also can be a factor. United Health measured retirement health and economic conditions to determine the 10 healthiest and the 10 unhealthiest states for seniors.
Here are the 10 healthiest states for seniors:
- New Hampshire.
Here are the 10 unhealthiest:
- West Virginia.