A Mixed Report on Americans’ Health

One-third of Americans say they don’t feel very healthy.  A recent study by the National Center for Health Statistics reveals good news and bad news about the general health of the American public. The bad news is that approximately one-third of respondents say they don’t feel particularly well.  The percentage of Americans reporting they are in excellent health fell to 66.6 percent for the first half of 2009, compared with 69.1 percent in 1998.

Although more Americans report they exercise regularly, upwards of 25 percent are considered obese with a body mass index of 30 or more.  That’s a significant increase over the 19.5 percent reported in 1997.  Type 2 diabetes is also on the rise, with 8.8 percent of Americans diagnosed with the disease in 2009, compared with just 5.3 percent in 1997.  The rate of asthma rose to 8.3 percent in 2009, compared with 7.6 percent in 2001.  Ten percent of children under 15 are asthmatic.

Jeannine S. Schiller, a statistician with the health statistics center, noted that some significant changes exist between the 2008 and 2009 reports.  “Flu vaccines were up for people 18 to 49 years old, leisure-time activity was up, and the failure to attain needed medical care due to cost went up significantly in one year,” according to Schiller.  “Diabetes is also up over the short term.”

The report stressed that 15 percent of Americans do not have healthcare insurance, and lack resources they can access for basic medical care.

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