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Americans living longer, enjoying greater health and prosperity, but important disparities remain
Date:3/27/2008

levels of diabetes than did non-Hispanic whites.
  • The prevalence of functional limitations declined from 49 percent in 1992 to 42 percent in 2005.

Health Risks and Behaviors Factors affecting the health and well-being of older Americans, such as smoking history, influenza and pneumonia vaccinations and mammogram screenings, are key indicators that have shown long-term improvements but no significant change in recent years.

  • There was no significant change in the percentage of older people engaged in physical activity between 1997 and 2006.
  • The percentage of people age 65 and older who are obese, as with other age groups, increased between 1988-1994 and 2005-2006, from 22 percent to 31 percent. However, over the past several years, the trend appears to have leveled off.
  • The percentage of older people living in counties with poor air quality for any air pollutant decreased from 55 percent in 2000 to 34 percent in 2006.

Health Care Health care costs, particularly for prescription drugs, have risen dramatically for older Americans.

  • Between 1992 and 2004, average inflation-adjusted health care costs for older Americans increased from $8,644 to $13,052. Costs varied by race and ethnic group, income and health status.
  • In 2004, as in the previous 4 years, over half of out-of-pocket health care spending (excluding health insurance premiums) by community-dwelling older people was for purchase of prescription drugs. By 2004, prescription medications accounted for 61 percent of these out-of-pocket expenses. Out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs are expected to decline because of the savings available through the Medicare prescription drug program.
  • The implementation of the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefits is included in the Indicators volume for the first time. From June 2006 through September 2007, the number of beneficia
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Contact: Vicky Cahan
nianews3@mail.nih.gov
301-496-1752
NIH/National Institute on Aging
Source:Eurekalert

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