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Iowa's New AARP Director Commits to Empower Seniors

The adult obesity rate in Iowa is 32 percent, the nation's 13th highest, according to the 2017 State of Obesity report. (
The adult obesity rate in Iowa is 32 percent, the nation's 13th highest, according to the 2017 State of Obesity report. (
June 4, 2018

DES MOINES, Iowa – One out of every four 65-year-olds today will live past age 90, and the new director of Iowa's AARP wants to make sure seniors can make the most of it.

Brad Anderson assumes the role this week, knowing the number of Iowans aged 65 and older is projected to grow from 16 percent to 20 percent by 2050.

Because of its low cost of living, Iowa regularly is cited as a great place to retire. And as the concept of aging continues to change, Anderson says AARP wants to be at the forefront of making sure seniors are doing things that help improve their lives.

"Getting out there and trying yoga for the first time, or buying your first new bike in a while and start riding, because retirement is a time many people are using now to find new experiences," he states.

AARP works on behalf of all Iowans 50 and over and has more than 370,000 members statewide.

Anderson most recently served as executive director of Above And Beyond Cancer, an Iowa-based cancer survivorship nonprofit organization.

For more information about AARP services, go to

In Iowa, 46 percent of residents age 65 and over lived alone in 2016, and Anderson says that's why it's important that Iowa's AARP pursues statewide strategic partnerships that provide members value and address community needs.

"AARP benefits from having a very strong statewide volunteer network,” he states. “For example, we help the 50-plus community file their taxes, fight consumer fraud."

According to the 2018 Senior Report, compared with other states, Iowa has a low percentage of seniors living in poverty and high vaccination coverage.

In the challenging category, Iowa seniors have a higher rate of obesity, and many who live in nursing homes require only minimal care.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - IA