Sept. 13, 2007 -- America's population isn't just getting older -- it's aging more healthfully than in the past, CDC researchers report.
But the U.S. still faces some challenges to healthy aging, report Ellen Kramarow, PhD, and colleagues in the journal Health Affairs.
Kramarow's team works at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. They rounded up data on the health of people aged 65 and older in the U.S.
On the bright side, the researchers found improvements on "nearly all major indicators: longevity, self-reported health, and functioning" in routine daily tasks.
But the picture isn't totally rosy. Persistent gaps in race, sex, and health remain.
"African-Americans generally lag behind other groups on most measures of health," and "men continue to have lower life expectancy than women," write Kramarow and colleagues.
Finally, the findings don't show whether older Americans are staying mentally sharp as they age. "This is an important gap in our knowledge of elderly health trends," write the researchers.
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