Research & Methodology

The goal of America's Brain Health Index is to provide a platform of discussion and debate that will encourage positive changes for better brain health.

life'sDHA™ worked in partnership with key health experts to develop the Index, including Michael Roizen, M.D., co-founder of Real Age Inc., author and advisor to the Index, and Majid Fotuhi, M.D., Ph.D., founder and chief medical officer at NeurExpand Brain Center, to determine the key indicators of brain health — as recognized by the overall medical community — and to build the Index with data aggregated from highly credible secondary resources.

Major sources of data for the Index include the Centers for Disease Control (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System), the Alzheimer's Association (2013 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures), the Corporation for National and Community Service (Civic Life Index), the Bureau of Labor Statistics (American Time Use Survey) and CQ Press (Education State Rankings) among others.

Conducted over a five year period in 2009, 2011 and 2014, America's Brain Health Index evaluated the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia based on 21 categories of brain health measures and outcomes in the areas of diet and nutrition, physical health, mental health and social well-being. The categories included a range of determinants from consumption of DHA-fortified foods, supplements and fish high in DHA, breast-feeding rates and amount of sleep, to smoking rates, Alzheimer's disease prevalence, education state rankings, and religious, spiritual and community involvement.

America's Brain Health Index Methodology

For each brain health indicator, data for all 51 geographies was compared to the national average, which was set at 100. Data points that were better than the national average indexed higher than 100, and data points that were poorer than the national average indexed lower than 100. After weighting the relative importance of each indicator to brain health, an overall Index score was calculated for each geography. Geographies were then ranked from first to 51st.

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