Thursday, June 21, 2012

Status of Leading Health Indicators

Today I will present some highlights on the status of a few of the 15 Leading Health Indicators as assessed in the current CDC early release reports of National Health Interview Survey data.

There are 15 individual updates on the CDC website and if you scroll down a bit (after the initial list of 15), you will get reports for each one separately.  If you click on the link for each indicator on the website, you can see the graphs and tables. The text below the name tells you what you'll learn from each figure.

Here is an update on 3 indicators that make sense for this blog, obesity, physical activity and cigarette smoking

Remember that this information was put together from a sample of adults who answered questions during a household interview in 2011.  The comparison - % change - refers to household interviews from 1997.  This pertains only to adults and the sample is supposed to be representative of all Americans - not individually but as groups.  It does not mean that any of this applies directly to you.  

Here is a snap shot of our big numbers.

Obesity - When putting all race/ethnicity and gender together - 28.7%  of American adults have a BMI 30 or greater.  In 1997 that number was 19.4%.
If we look at all males, the percent with 30 or higher BMI is 29 and only females it is 28% - not a real difference between genders.  There are differences between age groups and between blacks and whites.  The fattest age group is MINE - age 40-59 and the worst disparity is between black and white women with a 19% difference in current BMI status.

Physical Activity - Here the comparisons on physical activity were related to the percent of adults who achieve the minimal requirements of the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines - remember all those posts?  Me either, here is a link.  Anyways, just looking at the recommended aerobic activity, less than 50% of the population is currently meeting the target amount - since 1997 we have achieved between 40 and 50% of the recommended amount.  The least active group are those over the age of 75, but again, this is where individuals can really be different - like my Mother... she is more active than many 20 year olds.  When the question involves a combination of both the aerobic (raise your heart rate) and the muscle training components, the country is doing horrible!  Well, that's my opinion - but the rate of attainment is about 30% - Today I went swimming and lifted weights - so I am on target.

Cigarette Smoking - Ah - the biggest controllable risk factor for heart disease, lung problems and cancer.  In 2011, 18.9% of US adults smoked cigarettes.  That is a great improvement from 1997 when it was 24.7% (hey that is when I quit :)) but it is not much different from last year.  The age of smokers breaks out prettily evenly between ages 18-64.  The best news is that this study suggests that 60% of adults have NEVER smoked.

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