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America's Health a Mixed Bag: Report
Date:2/16/2011

really critical in terms of looking at the future health status of the U.S., and that news has not been good for a long time and it doesn't look like it's improving," said Dr. Nancy Bennett, director of the University of Rochester Medical Center's Center for Community Health.

Heart disease and cancer remain the two leading killers, collectively accounting for nearly half of the 2.5 million deaths in the United States in 2007, 25 percent and 23 percent, respectively.

Among the report's findings:

  • Hypertension levels are on the rise, with 32.6 percent of the population suffering from high blood pressure in 2007-2008, as compared with 28.9 percent in 1999-2000.
  • Twelve percent of U.S. adults are now diabetic, up from 8.5 percent in 1999.
  • On the other hand, cholesterol levels are coming under control, probably because a quarter of U.S. adults aged 45 and over are now using the cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins, a dramatic increase from just 2 percent in the 1988-1994 period. "The increase in statin use is pretty dramatic," said Bernstein.
  • Skyrocketing medical costs continue to be a problem, with more Americans than ever before delaying or simply foregoing medical care: 11 percent in 1997 to 15 percent in 2009. People skimping on prescription drugs went from 6 percent to 11 percent, and those missing out on needed dental care increased from 11 percent to 17 percent.
  • More kids are moving to Medicaid (35 percent in 2009 versus 18 percent in 1999), and fewer are staying on private insurance. The good news is that fewer kids are uninsured: only 8 percent as compared with 12 percent a decade earlier.
  • More children have skin allergies (10.7 percent, compared with 7.4 percent in the late 1990s), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (9 percent versus 6.5 percent) and food allergies (4.6 percent, up from 3.4 percent).
  • Americans do seem to be moving more, with 18.8 percent reporting exercising, a
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