CDC Report Assesses State of Aging Americans' Health

Report shows how the aging of America will significantly increase burden of chronic disease

THURSDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News) -- By 2030, 71 million Americans will be age 65 and older, placing additional strains on a health care system in which almost 95 percent of expenditures already go toward treating older adults' chronic health conditions, according to a report published March 8 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The Merck Company Foundation.

The report, The State of Aging and Health in America 2007, shows that 80 percent of older adults already have at least one serious chronic health condition and that healthier lifestyle choices and regular screenings could significantly reduce their risk of disability and premature death.

Although the United States has met four national targets set by the Healthy People 2010 initiative -- current smoking, mammogram within the past two years, colorectal cancer screening, and cholesterol checked within the past five years -- the report found that no states have met targets related to physical activity, daily consumption of fruits and vegetables, and flu and pneumonia vaccines. In addition, only three states have met the target for obesity.

Two of the biggest challenges facing health care providers in the years ahead will be treating chronic diseases in aging baby boomers and addressing the needs of older racial and ethnic minorities, whose health status continues to lag significantly behind that of whites, the authors conclude.

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