In its annual summary of the nation's well-being, the US government announced that half of all Americans closing in on their Medicare-eligible years have high blood pressure (BP), while 2 out of every 5 are obese. The report was based on data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics and featured an in-depth look at the age 55 to 64 demographic, the oldest of the baby boomers and the fastest-growing segment of the US population.
The report noted that 40% of this population was obese, up from 31% in the 2003 report. People in this segment also had more frequent and more severe health problems, including diabetes and heart disease, than their younger counterparts. Although many adults in their late 50s and early 60s enjoy good health, others deal with chronic and debilitating diseases, such as high BP, as well as lack of health insurance. The report found that minorities were more likely to fall into those categories.
"Controlling high BP and obesity is crucial for health, and particularly for baby boomers as they grow older,"said Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt. "It's time to act against both conditions so more Americans can live longer, healthier lives."