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Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Annual Report Card on Nation's Health

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The US government released the most recent figures on vital statistics, disease prevalence, health care utilization, and other health topics. It takes quite a while to crunch numbers, and believe it or not, these data from 2006 are the most recent in the report. Still, there are some interesting things. Here are some highlights from the report.

  • Obesity rates have tripled among young adults in the past three decades, from 8% in 1971-1974 to 24% in 2005-2006.
  • Obesity rates overall do not appear to be increasing as rapidly as they did in past decades. However, they are still high with over a third of adults aged 20 and over considered to be obese.
  • 34% of adults aged 20-24 are uninsured.
  • In 2006, American men could expect to live 3.6 years longer, and women 1.9 years longer than they did in 1990. Death rates from heart disease, stroke, and cancer have continued to decline in recent years. I think this is because of better diagnosis and treatment, not because people aren't getting these diseases.
  • 65% of men and 80% of women aged 75 and older reported having high blood pressure.
  • 36% of adults aged 45-54 reported having high blood pressure.
  • About 25% of adults over age 60 have diabetes.
  • Only 16% of adults had high cholesterol. This is due to the increased use of cholesterol-lowering drugs. Women over 55 years old were much more likely to have high cholesterol than their male counterparts.
If you are interested in reading the full report, you can find it here.

There is a real push right now for getting more integrated health care and an emphasis on promoting health in this country and not just treating disease. Let's keep pushing our lawmakers and insurance providers to support preventive services so we can all live a healthy live, not just a long life.
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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