Health Costs Expected to Surge 25% by 2030


 
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CHICAGO - The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the cost of caring for aging Americans will add 25 percent to the nation's healthcare bill by 2020 unless
people act now to stay healthy.

CDC researchers report that currently 80 percent of Americans aged 65 or older have at least one chronic disease that could lead to premature death and/or disability.

The Report, called "The State of Aging and Health in American 2007," projects that by 2030, 71 million Americans will be over 65, accounting for 20% of the U.S. population, up from 10 percent now.

With the cost of caring for older Americans at three- to five-times greater than care for younger adults, CDC researchers believe policymakers and individuals should take steps to help aging adults forestall chronic disease.

"Given the demographics ... the economic impact on healthcare will be enormous," said a vice president at Merck & Co. Inc., whose foundation funded the study.

If people adopt healthier lifestyles, they will not develop the expensive, chronic diseases that raise health costs sharply, such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

"We are going to see an increase in health care costs, but the goal has to be to restrain the rate of increase. Prevention is the key to that," according to the CDC.

The report noted that three behaviors -- smoking, poor diet and physical inactivity -- caused almost 35 percent of U.S. deaths in 2000.

Those three behaviors often lead to the development of the nation's leading chronic diseases: heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes, they said.

"Having a chronic disease that's well managed doesn't necessarily put a person at risk for functional decline, but when someone starts developing problems, they are much more at risk," according to the CDC.

The report looks at how states are faring in terms of elderly health and providing preventive care such as immunizations and health screenings and taking steps to prevent falls, a major risk for the elderly.

DIFFERS BY STATE

"You have some regions that are doing extremely well in a lot of areas and others that are struggling to get these services to older adults," according to the CDC.

Elderly people in Hawaii, for example, are likely to fare better health. The state ranked best in overall health, mental health, and disability and had the lowest percent of obese elderly. But Hawaii ranked last in terms of screening for colorectal cancer.

West Virginia ranked worst in terms of overall health, oral health and disability, while Kentucky had the highest level of elderly people reporting mental health problems. Louisiana reported the highest levels of obesity, with more than 25 percent of the elderly population considered obese.



 
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Articles in this issue:

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    Editor-in Chief:
    Kirsten Nicole

    Editorial Staff:
    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Robyn Bowman
    Kimberly McNabb
    Lisa Gordon
    Stephanie Robinson

    Contributors:
    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Liz Di Bernardo
    Cris Lobato
    Elisa Howard
    Susan Cramer

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