A new study just released puts Mississippi dead last in the U.S. when it comes to brains.
The 2014 America’s Brain Health Index reveals which areas of the country have progressed, held their own or lost ground in taking measures to improve their brain health over the last three years. Mississippi retains the lowest position among the brain-healthiest geographies in the nation. The state-by-state ranking of brain health is part of a national health education campaign called Beautiful Minds: Finding Your Lifelong Potential, a partnership between the National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA) and life’sDHA, designed to inspire Americans to develop and maintain healthy, active minds by incorporating key lifestyle factors known as the four dimensions of brain health — diet and nutrition, physical health, mental health and social well-being.
According to the 2014 America’s Brain Health Index, Mississippi ranks No. 51, yet its strengths include high levels of religious or spiritual activities as well as community involvement. However, Mississippi has many challenges, including low consumption of DHA-fortified foods and supplements, high incidences of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and low state education rankings.
The campaign also introduced this year’s Beautiful Minds, nine individuals from across the country who are fulfilling the four dimensions of brain health and achieving amazing things in the second half of their lives. A photo essay exhibit featuring their personal stories will travel the country through 2014 to inspire Americans to improve their own brain health. Mississippian Renee McClendon, 58, of Diamondhead, is one of the Beautiful Minds showcased in the exhibit.
America’s Top Ten Brain Healthy States
The America’s Brain Health Index evaluated the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia based on 21 factors including diet and nutrition, physical health, mental health and social well-being. According to this year’s America’s Brain Health Index, the top 10 brain healthiest geographies are:
|1) Maryland||6) District of Columbia|
|2) Washington state||7) Vermont|
|3) Colorado||8) New York|
|4) Connecticut||9) New Hampshire|
|5) Alaska||10) Georgia|
Michael Roizen, M.D., co-founder of Real Age Inc., helped to determine the key indicators of brain health and build the Index with data aggregated from highly credible secondary resources. The categories ranged from consumption of DHA-rich foods, amount of sleep and community involvement, to smoking rates, Alzheimer’s disease prevalence and state education rankings.
“Keeping the brain healthy is easier than you realize. Everyday actions such as maintaining a diet including good fats like DHA omega-3 and important nutrients such as vitamin E and lutein, and staying active physically, mentally and socially, are all good ways to influence long-term brain health,” said Dr. Roizen.
“The ‘graying of America’ is being heralded by many as the second American Revolution, promising dramatic changes in the field of aging. The life’sDHA Beautiful Minds campaign demonstrates that Americans who incorporate the four dimensions of brain health into daily activities can enjoy lives filled with purpose and passion, strength and achievement,” said Gay Hanna, Ph.D., M.F.A., executive director of the NCCA.