The Best States for Your Brain
Where you live may have a bigger effect on your brain health than your idea. Discover where your state ranks in America’s Brain Health Index.
Congrats to the Old Line State: Maryland has progressed as the state of the great brain health in the 2011 America’s Brain Health Index. Created by National Center for Creative Aging, the index ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia on 21 brain health indicators including diet, physical health, mental health, and social well-being. This is the second time the index has been calculated; the first one appeared in 2009.
In the 2011 report, Maryland edged out the District of Columbia, which slipped to No. 2 from its first-place 2009 ranking. Maryland took top honors because it experienced a decrease in Alzheimer’s disease-related deaths and because residents consume a high amount of fish, a natural source of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an omega-3 fatty acid that is tied to brain and eye health. Residents of Washington, DC, came in second due to its high proportion of active readers – more than any of the 50 states.
The Brain Health list was made by health specialists including Michael Roizen, MD, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and maker of the RealAge idea, and Majid Fotuhi, PhD, MD, executive of the Neurology Institute for Brain Fitness and Health and assistant professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. The list was created as part of a national health education campaign called Beautiful Minds: Finding Your Lifelong Potential, aimed at encouraging adults in the second half of life to develop and maintain brain health. It’s sponsored by Life’sDHA, a supplement made by the nutritional items company Market Biosciences Corporation.
Thinking about How Your State Stacks Up?
Here are the top 10 states in the 2011 list and the components that give them a brain health advantage:
- Maryland: Marylanders consume a lot of omega-3-rich foods, for example, fish, and have a low incidence of Alzheimer’s disease-related deaths.
- The region of Columbia: Residents of Washington, DC, are the top dynamic readers and have a high consumption of healthy foods.
- Washington State: The Evergreen State is among the top five states in utilization of DHA-rich fish.
- Colorado: Residents of colorful Colorado consume a healthy diet and have a low incidence of diabetes.
- Vermont: People in the Green Mountain State keep their minds engaged by reading and are active group members.