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Snapshot Puts Americans' Health in Focus

Did You Know …? Assorted Facts Provide Glimpse of Health in the U.S.
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Dec. 17, 2008 -- Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults say they're in very good or excellent health -- yet 27% of us are obese, 21% smoke, 8% have diabetes, 4% have asthma, and 21% drink too much.

This flurry of facts comes from the CDC and the Census Bureau, both of which today released a blizzard of data.

The facts don't all directly relate to one another. But like a mosaic, the pieces come together to offer a revealing picture of America's health.

Among the smorgasbord of facts about Americans:

  • Percentage without health insurance in 2008 (all ages): 14.3%
  • In 1997: 15.4%
  • Percentage who went without needed medical care sometime in 2008: 6.1%
  • In 1998: 4.2%
  • Number of surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures in 2007: 11.7 million
  • Percentage of cosmetic procedures performed on women: 91%
  • Percentage of adults who are obese, based on self-reported weight and height in 2008: 27%
  • In 1997: 19.4%
  • Percentage of adults who got at least 30 minutes of light exercise 5 days a week in 2008: 31%
  • In 1998: 29.8%
  • Percentage of adults who smoked in 2008: 20.8%
  • In 1997: 24.7%
  • Percentage of adults who had 5 or more drinks in one day at least once in 2008: 20.8%
  • In 1997: 21.4%
  • Percentage of adults who ever got an HIV test as of 2008: 38.3%
  • As of 1998: 30.2%
  • Percentage of adults 65-74 who needed help with personal care in 2008: 3.4%
  • Age 75-84: 7.3%
  • Age 85+: 17.6%
  • Percentage of adults who recently experienced serious psychological distress in 2008: 3%
  • In 1997: 3.3%
  • Percentage of adults diagnosed with diabetes in 2008: 8%
  • In 1997: 5.1%
  • Number of years since 1997 the adult diabetes rate did not go up: 0
  • Percentage of adults with an asthma attack in the last year: 3.9%
  • In 1999: 3.9%
  • Percentage reporting "very good" or "excellent" health in 2008 (all ages): 65.9%
  • In 1998: 69.1%

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