Health Habits of Adults Aged 18-29 Highlighted in Report on Nation's Health
Young adults in the United States aged 18-29 face a number of health challenges, including increases in obesity, high injury rates, and lack of insurance coverage compared to older adults, according to the latest report on the nation's health.
Health, United States: 2008 is the 32nd annual edition of the report prepared by CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, and includes a compilation of health data from a number of sources within the federal government and in the private sector. The report uses the most current data available at the time of publication.
This year's edition features a special section on adults aged 18 to 29, a group making many life choices including decisions about education, marriage, childbearing, and health behaviors such as tobacco and alcohol use, which will affect both their future economic and health status.
Highlights of the report:
Obesity rates have tripled among young adults in the past three decades, from 8 percent in 1971-1974 to 24 percent in 2005-2006.
In 2006, 29 percent of young men were current cigarette smokers, compared to 21 percent of young adult women. Between 1997 and 2006, the percentage of women 18–29 years of age who currently smoked cigarettes declined nearly 20 percent. Current smoking did not decline significantly among young men.
In 2005, unintentional injuries or accidents, homicide, and suicide accounted for 70 percent of deaths among young adults 18–29 years of age. Three-quarters of the 47,000 deaths in this age group occurred among young men. Young adults also have the highest rate of injury-related emergency department visits of all age groups.
In 1999–2004, almost 9 percent of adults aged 20–29 reported having major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, or panic disorder in the past 12 months.
In 2006, adults aged 20–24 were more likely to be uninsured (34 percent) than those aged 18–19 (21 percent) and 25–29 (29 percent).
In 2004–2006, 17 percent of adults aged 18–29 reported needing but not receiving one or more of the following services in the past year because they could not afford them: medical care, prescription medicines, mental health care, or eyeglasses.
The full report contains 151 data tables in addition to the special feature on young adults. The tables cover the spectrum of health topics, serving as a comprehensive snapshot of the nation's health. Other highlights:
In 2006, American men could expect to live 3.6 years longer, and women 1.9 years longer, than they did in 1990. Death rates from heart disease, stroke and cancer have continued to decline in recent years.
Sixty-five percent of men and 80 percent of women aged 75 and older reported having high blood pressure or were taking high blood pressure medication in 2003–2006, compared to about 36 percent of adults aged 45–54.
The proportion of the population with high cholesterol levels has been dropping, in large part due to increased use of cholesterol-lowering drugs. In 2003–2006, 16 percent of adults had high cholesterol. Women aged 55 and over were much more likely to have high cholesterol than their male counterparts.
Approximately 25 percent of adults aged 60 and over had diabetes in 2003-2006.
Obesity rates do not appear to be increasing as rapidly as they did in past decades, but remain high, with over a third of adults age 20 and over considered to be obese in 2005–2006.
The full report is available at www.cdc.gov/nchs.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES