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US life expectancy climbs to a new high

The report also found that very high use of prescription drugs, with the rate of cholesterol-lowering drugs roughly tripling among men and women from 1995-96 to 2002-03.

Overall, however, the pre-Medicare Baby Boomers were more likely to have health insurance than other adult age groups.

And deaths from heart disease, stroke and cancer declined between 2 percent and 5 percent.

But along with that longevity comes a greater prevalence of chronic diseases.

And while gains in health care and well being continue to be made, they're happening more slowly than in the past. Among the report's findings:

·The U.S. spent $1.7 trillion, or $5,671 for every man, woman and child, on health care in 2003.

·The prevalence of overweight and obesity among adults 20 to 74 years of age increased from 47 percent in 1976-80 to 65 percent in 1999-2002.

·The average annual rate of increase for prescription drug expenditures was higher than for any other category of health expenditure, a trend that began in 1995.

·More than 9 percent of people aged 20 and older and about one-fifth of adults 60 and older had diabetes in the period 1999 to 2002.

·There were major disparities in health and health care between socioeconomic, racial, ethnic and insurance-status groups. Overall mortality was 30 percent higher for black Americans than for white Americans.

·More than one-quarter of all adults experienced lower back pain within the past three months, while 15 percent had severe headaches or migraines. Fifteen percent also reported neck pain.

·Two-thirds of high school students exercised regularly, but only one-third of adults reported being physically active during their leisure time.

·As many as 24 percent of men and 19 percent of women were smoking in 2003.

·Infant mortality continued to decline in 2003, to 6.9 deaths per 1,000 live irths.
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