Good News, Bad News About Americans' Health
< Jun. 20, 2012 > -- Fewer Americans are smoking, but plenty are still overweight or obese, according to the latest survey on the nation's health.
The CDC this week released early results from its 2011 National Health Interview Survey. The findings showed positive and negative trends: More people are exercising and fewer are smoking. But more Americans are obese and have type 2 diabetes.
Pascal James Imperato, M.D., at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York City, says he's pleased by the healthier lifestyle choices that emerged from the survey.
"Aerobic exercising has been widely embraced by many younger people, which is an excellent development, as it addresses not only the health needs to be active, build muscle tone and bone density, and promote cardiac fitness, but also the prevention of overweight and obesity," he says.
And, he says, the decline in smoking rates among adults is the result of a combination of extensive public health education efforts, a decline in social acceptance of smoking, restrictions on where people can smoke, and the increased costs of smoking.
Progress to be made
But clearly more work lies ahead. The number of Americans who say they are obese rose from 19.4 percent in 1997 to 28.7 in 2011. And one in 10 U.S. adults ages 45 to 54 has diabetes - that jumps to one in five in those 65 and older.
"These are the worst of times when it comes to obesity and diabetes, both of which are at high levels and still rising," says David Katz, M.D., at Yale University School of Medicine.
Among other highlights from the survey:
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