CDC’s Report: “The State Of Aging And Health In America 2007”

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Patricia Shehan – All Headline News Staff Writer
Atlanta, GA (AHN) – The consensus of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC’s) report: almost 80 percent of Americans aged 65 years and older have at least one chronic health disease (for instance, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis or depression). Nearly 40 percent of the elderly population have at least two chronic conditions.

The CDC’s report on “The State of Aging and Health in America 2007” was supported by The Merck Company Foundation in its fifth volume series of aging and health in America, including other regions of the world.

The informational report is generated to help Americans live longer and better lives through assessments and calls for changes in healthcare improvements for success.

Three key areas formulated in the report seek to reduce elderly behaviors that may cause premature death or disability. The three key areas identified were (1) a reduction in falls, (2) maintenance of cognitive health abilities and (3) an improvement to “end-of-life care.”

It is expected that the number of elderly persons alive in the next 25 years will double the total population of Americans aged 65 years and older. It is predicted that by 2030 there will be 71 million people in this age group, accounting for approximately 20 percent of the American population.

The nation’s healthcare spending is projected to increase by 25 percent in conjunction with the number of American elderly population increases.

The costs to provide healthcare to the elderly is staggering, and it is seen as a strong incentive to proactively improve healthcare for this growing population.

As characteristics of chronic health conditions vary greatly among the different race and ethnic groups in the elderly, the health of these individuals is far behind that of the nonminority elderly population. This is seen as another area of concern for public healthcare costs and prevention.

Three factors affecting health are preventable (smoking, poor diet and physical inactivity), which cause more than one third of the preventable deaths in the U.S.

Although the report is generated from information gathered in 2003 and 2004, the numbers still indicate that healthy living needs to become a priority for all.

It was found that “we’re doing good in some areas, and in a lot of other areas we really need to step up,” according to an interview conducted by WebMD with Lynda Anderson, PhD, director of the CDC’s Health Aging Program.

Anderson was one of the experts who worked to generate the CDC’s report.

Anderson adds, “Our main message is really that Americans of all ages can reduce their risk of developing chronic illnesses, as well as preventing disabilities.”

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