Trends and disparities in the number of self-reported healthy older adults in the united states, 2000 to 2014

Previous research has examined trends in the health of older adults who are frail or in otherwise poor health.1 Collectively, this body of evidence points to encouraging improvements. It is well recognized, though, that health is a spectrum and examining only those in poor health neglects to consider how good health (the goal of public health and policy initiatives) is distributed in the general population. Use of disability trends alone to evaluate population health is analogous to making conclusions about the US economy based solely on the poverty rate. Because healthy older adults are a sizeable and growing segment of the US population,2 it is important to better appraise the full spectrum of health among older adults. Examining the distribution of good health among older adults has implications for planning overall health care needs for older adults and understanding whether improvements are distributed across all socioeconomic groups.