Where you live may have a bigger effect on your brain health than you thought. Discover where your state positions in America’s Brain Health Index.

Congrats to the Old Line State: Maryland has developed as the state with the best brain health in the 2011 America’s Brain Health Index. Created by National Center for Creative Aging, the index positions every 50 states and the District of Columbia on 21 brain health indicators including diet, mental health, physical health, and social well-being. This is the second time the index has been figured; the first one appeared in 2009.

In the recent report, Maryland edged out the District of Columbia, which slipped to No. 2 from its first-place 2009 positioning. Maryland took top honors because it experienced a decline 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. Occupants of Washington, DC, came in second due to its high proportion of dynamic perusers – more than any of the 50 states.

The Brain Health Index was created by health specialists including MD, Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and maker of the RealAge idea, and Majid Fotuhi, PhD, MD, chairman of the Neurology Institute for Fitness and Brain Health and assistant professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. The index was created as part of a national health education campaign called Beautiful Minds: Finding Your Longlife Potential, aimed at encouraging adults in the second 50% of life to maintain and develop brain health. It’s sponsored by Life’sDHA, a supplement created by the nutritional products organization Market Biosciences Corporation.

Wondering How Your State Stacks Up?

Here are the top 5 states in the 2011 index and the components that give them a brain health advantage:

1. Maryland: Marylanders consume a lot of omega-3-rich foods, for example, fish, and have a low frequency of Alzheimer’s disease-related deaths.

2. District of Columbia: Residents of Washington, DC, are the top dynamic readers and have a high utilization of healthy foods.

3. Washington State: The Evergreen State is among the top 5 states in utilization of DHA-rich fish.

4. Colorado: Residents of beautiful Colorado consume a healthy diet and have a low incidence of diabetes.

5. Vermont: People in the Green Mountain State keep their minds engaged by perusing and are dynamic community participants.

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