A new government report shows there's good and bad trends in the overall health of Americans in 2011.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics released the early findings of their 2011 National Health Interview Survey on Tuesday.
"Overall, this report, based on data not as yet fully adjusted but nonetheless valid, demonstrates both significant improvements in the nation's health and health habits, and areas that still require serious attention," said Dr. Pascal James Imperato, dean of the School of Public Health at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in New York City. "Among the latter is the obesity epidemic, which over time will predispose increasingly larger numbers of people to both type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease."
The decline in smoking rates among adults is very good news. Experts said it's the result of extensive public health education efforts, a decline in social acceptance of smoking, restrictions on where people can smoke and the increased costs of smoking.
More Americans are also exercising. However, this gain is offset by those who do not exercise and who adhere to unhealthy diets, leading to obesity, Imperato added.
"This results in the seemingly contradictory data of 48.4 percent of adults reporting aerobic exercising, and 28.7 percent reporting being obese," he said.
Highlights of the report include:
- The percentage of adults who drink five or more alcoholic drinks a day has dropped after increasing between 2004 and 2010, to just over 22 percent in 2011.
- Self-reported obesity in Americans over age 20 has climbed from 19.4 percent in 1997 to 28.7 percent in 2011.
- One in five adults aged 65 and older has diabetes versus one in 10 among those aged 45 to 54.
- Only 2.4 percent of Americans rate their personal health as poor.
- Among black children under 15 years of age, 16.6 percent have asthma; that figure is 10 percent for Hispanic children and 7.5 percent for white kids.
- Fifty percent of adults aged 25 to 44 say they have been tested for HIV.
- In 2011, 48.4 percent of adults aged 18 and older said they did aerobic exercise -- the highest percentage ever reported.
- For 6.5 percent of Americans, cost kept them from seeking needed medical care.
- Among those aged 65 and older, 7.3 percent needed assistance with personal care in 2011, compared with 6.4 percent in 2000.
- More adults (3.4 percent) had serious psychological distress during 2011 than in 1999 (2.4 percent).
- The number of U.S. adults who smoke dropped from 24.7 percent in 1997 to 18.9 percent in 2011.
- Most Americans (87 percent) had a usual place to go for medical care in 2011, a little more than the 2010 estimate of 85.4 percent.
- In 2011, almost 67 percent of those aged 65 and older had received a vaccine against pneumonia, a significant increase from 43 percent in 1997.
For more information on the study go to cdc.gov (click here).