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The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published the latest annual report on the nation's health, “Health, United States, 2007.” Its chartbook and 150 detailed tables track trends in the major health indicators for the U.S. population; this year's special report feature focuses on access to care. Another new report shows that after constant increases over the past few decades, obesity remains at a high level but didn't increase in the latest survey. However, the teen birth rate was up in 2006 after more than 15 years of declines, according to the latest NCHS report of birth statistics.
Nearly one in five U.S. adults—more than 40 million people—report they do not have adequate access to the health care they need, according to the annual report on the nation's health, “Health, United States, 2007.”1 The report's special section focusing on access to care shows that nearly 20% of adults reported that they needed and did not receive one or more of the following services in the past year—medical care, prescription medicines, mental health care, dental care, or eyeglasses—because they could not afford them. In 2005, nearly one in 10 people between the ages of 18 and 64 said they were unable to get necessary prescription drugs during the past 12 months due to cost. Nearly 10% said they delayed receiving needed medical care.
The annual report also tracks key indicators by showing trends in four sections: health status, health-care utilization, resources, and expenditures. It examines patterns over the past few decades and identifies emerging trends. Many of the charts and tables present data by race, ethnicity, and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics to identify groups at greater risk. The data included in the report come not only from NCHS but also from many other government agencies and private sources.
Other major findings of the report include:
The report features data on a wide range of health topics affecting all stages of life, and does show a number of important gains:
The report is available on the NCHS website at www.cdc.gov/nchs.hus.htm, where users can find the entire report, search for data by topic, and use the tables in Microsoft® Excel. Previous editions of the report are also a part of the Health, United States website.
After a quarter-century of increases, obesity prevalence has not measurably increased in the past few years, but levels are still high at 34% of U.S. adults aged 20 and older, according to a new study released by NCHS. “Obesity Among Adults in the United States—No Statistically Significant Change Since 2003–2004”2 is the latest analysis based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys conducted by NCHS. Obesity rates have increased over the past 25 years. Among men, there was an increase in obesity prevalence between 1999 and 2006. However, there was no significant change in obesity prevalence between 2003–2004 and 2005–2006 for either men or women. Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater. BMI is calculated from a person's weight and height and provides a reasonable indicator of body fatness and weight categories that may lead to health problems. Obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
The study found:
The teen birth rate in the U.S. rose in 2006 for the first time since 1991, and unmarried childbearing also rose significantly, according to preliminary birth statistics from NCHS. The statistics are featured in a new report, “Births: Preliminary Data for 2006,” and are based on data from more than 99% of all births for the U.S. in 2006.3 A final report to follow will have more detailed data, but the preliminary report shows that between 2005 and 2006, the birth rate for teenagers aged 15–19 years rose 3%, from 40.5 live births per 1,000 females aged 15–19 years in 2005 to 41.9 births per 1,000 in 2006. This follows a 14-year downward trend in which the teen birth rate fell by 34% from its recent peak of 61.8 births per 1,000 in 1991. The largest increases were reported for non-Hispanic black teens, whose overall rate rose 5% in 2006. This group previously had shown the sharpest decline.
The rate rose 2% for Hispanic teens, 3% for non-Hispanic white teens, and 4% for American Indian or Alaska Native teens. The birth rate for the youngest teens aged 10–14 declined from 0.7 to 0.6 per 1,000, and the number of births to this age group fell 5% to 6,405. The birth rate for older teens aged 18–19 years was 73 births per 1,000 population—more than three times higher than the rate for teens aged 15–17 years (22 per 1,000). Between 2005 and 2006, the birth rate rose 3% for teens aged 15–17 and 4% for teens aged 18–19.
The study also shows unmarried childbearing reached a new record high in 2006. The total number of births to unmarried mothers rose nearly 8% to 1,641,700 in 2006. This represents a 20% increase from 2002, when the recent upswing in nonmarital births began. The biggest jump was among unmarried women aged 25–29, among whom there was a 10% increase between 2005 and 2006. In addition, the nonmarital birth rate also rose sharply, from 47.5 births per 1,000 unmarried females in 2005 to 50.6 per 1,000 in 2006—a 7% one-year increase and a 16% increase since 2002.
The study also revealed that the percentage of all U.S. births to unmarried mothers increased to 38.5%, up from 36.9% in 2005. The report contains other significant findings:
“Births: Preliminary Data for 2006,”3 as well as state-specific detailed tables, are also available on the NCHS website at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr56/nvsr56_07.pdf.
NCHS Dataline was prepared by Sandra S. Smith, MPH, Communications Consultant at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Jeffrey H. Lancashire, Acting Associate Director for Health Communications at NCHS.