Half of Americans Have Chronic Disease: CDC

Wednesday, 02 Jul 2014 05:42 PM

By Nick Tate

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Half of all Americans have at least one chronic condition, such as diabetes, heart disease, or obesity, according to a stunning new report card on the nation’s overall health by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
 
The findings, published in The Lancet, also indicate the proportion of adult Americans who have two or more of serious health conditions is more than a quarter.

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The CDC researchers added that the vast majority of these conditions could be prevented through healthy lifestyle changes including the elimination of tobacco and excess alcohol use, improved diets, greater physical activity, and reductions in high blood pressure and LDL "bad" cholesterol.
 
The new report says the figures show that Americans score poorly, when compared with residents of other wealthy nations, according to Medical News Today.
 
"Compared with comparable high-income countries, the U.S. is less healthy in areas such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and chronic lung diseases," the CDC authors concluded, adding that "chronic diseases are the main causes of poor health, disability, and death, and account for most of healthcare expenditures."
 
One contributing factor: Americans are living longer than ever before, and the proportion of U.S. residents over 65 — who typically use twice as many healthcare resources, as those under that age — is growing.
 
Medicare recipients, for example, account for $300 billion in annual health care spending — more than  90 percent of it goes to care for people with two or more chronic conditions, the CDC noted.

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