In its annual summary of the nation's well-being, the US governmentannounced that half of all Americans closing in ontheir Medicare-eligible years have high blood pressure (BP),while 2 out of every 5 are obese. The report was based on datacollected by the National Center for Health Statistics and featuredan in-depth look at the age 55 to 64 demographic, theoldest of the baby boomers and the fastest-growing segmentof the US population.
The report noted that 40% of this population was obese,up from 31% in the 2003 report. People in this segment alsohad more frequent and more severe health problems,including diabetes and heart disease, than their youngercounterparts. Although many adults in their late 50s andearly 60s enjoy good health, others deal with chronic anddebilitating diseases, such as high BP, as well as lack ofhealth insurance. The report found that minorities weremore likely to fall into those categories.
"Controlling high BP and obesity is crucial for health, andparticularly for baby boomers as they grow older,"saidHealth and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt. "It's timeto act against both conditions so more Americans can livelonger, healthier lives."