Cancer and heart disease accounted for more than one-half of deaths among baby boomers in 2013, according to a CDC report released in May. Titled “Health, United States 2014,” the report included a special feature on adults ages 55 to 64. The feature detailed significant differences in the group compared with people of the same age 10 years ago.
Although cancer was among the leading cause of death for 55- to 64-year-olds in 2013, the death rate for cancer was 14% lower for men in that age bracket than in 2003, and 18% lower for women.
Diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure
With chronic conditions increasing as people enter the 55- to 64-year-old range, the report paid particular attention to diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. CDC researchers found between 2009 and 2012, about 2 in 10 or 18% of people ages 55 to 64 had diabetes, while 4 in 10 or 40% were obese. These levels were slightly higher than the levels documented between 1999 and 2002, the report said. The number of 55- to 64-year-olds with hypertension — 51.4% — also was slightly higher than numbers from 1999 to 2002. More people ages 55 to 64 also are taking cholesterol lowering drugs than in the past, according to the report.
“Increases in the prevalence of chronic conditions may be related to a variety of factors, including higher incidence, (new cases), longer duration with the condition and increased diagnosis,” researchers wrote.
The age group, which will become eligible for Medicare in the next decade, had lower percentages of private insurance coverage between 2012 and 2013 compared with 2002 to 2003, according to the report. The largest loss of private coverage occurred for those with family incomes below 200% of the poverty level, the report stated.
Baby boomers also are more racially diverse than in 2003. Non-Hispanic white persons make up nearly 75% of the 55- to 64-year-old population, non-Hispanic black persons comprise nearly 11% and Hispanics almost 10%, according to the report.
The report also examined birth and death rates, infant mortality and life expectancy. By 2013, overall life expectancy at birth in the United States was 78.8 years, the report stated, with 76.5 years for white males and 81.2 years for white females. Life expectancy at birth also increased at 1.9 years for males and 1.5 years for females.
Read the report at CDC.gov/nchs/hus.htm.
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