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Mass. Study Breaks Down Aging Population’s Health Issues By Community

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Old Man, Eldercare, Elders

(credit: Photo by MUSTAFA OZER/AFP/Getty Images)

BOSTON (CBS) – When it comes to health and aging, where you live matters.

And a new study commissioned by the Tufts Health Plan Foundation breaks down health indicators by community.

The study examined 100 healthy aging indicators in every town and city in Massachusetts.

It lists hypertension as one of the most common chronic conditions experienced for adults who are 65 or older. The state average rate is 78 percent.

Fall River and New Bedford, and Roxbury register the highest rates in the state, while Lincoln, Carlisle, and Boston’s Back Bay-Beacon Hill neighborhood, along with smaller towns in Martha’s Vineyard and Western Massachusetts register near the bottom.

The study also broke down Boston by neighborhood.

The findings actually put South Boston near the bottom of the list, with scores below state averages on a high number of healthy aging indicators, including depression, Alzheimer’s disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), heart disease, hip fractures, and lung and colon cancer, among ailments.

For a detailed look at the statewide findings, click here.

For Boston neighborhoods, here are a number of the key findings:

Hypertension: Roxbury has the fourth highest rate of hypertension among older adults in the state (84 percent compared to a state average of 78 percent). Back Bay-Beacon Hill has the second lowest rate in the state of hypertension among older adults (61 percent).

Diabetes: Back Bay-Beacon Hill has the lowest percentage of older adults ever having been diagnosed with diabetes (15 percent compared to a state average of 32 percent). Mattapan and Roxbury have the two highest rates in the state for diabetes (each above 46 percent). Hyde Park and Allston-Brighton also exceed the state average for diabetes, at 44 percent and 43 percent respectively.

Depression: Fenway-Kenmore, Allston-Brighton and Jamaica Plain – rank highest in the state for depression among older adults (each above 37 percent compared to a state average of 29 percent).

Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias: Jamaica Plain and Roslindale rank near the highest rates in the state for Alzheimer’s and related dementias among older residents (each above 20 percent compared to a state average of 14 percent).

Prostate Cancer: Mattapan has the state’s highest rate of prostate cancer among older adult men (21 percent compared to a state average of 15 percent).

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