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CDC: Young people face multiple health challenges


ATLANTA Increases in obesity, higher injury rates and lack of health insurance are just three of the challenges that young adults aged 18 to 29 in the United States face, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report, “Health, United States: 2008,” is the 32nd edition of the annual report, prepared by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. 

Highlights of the report, which includes a special section on young adults, include: 

  • Obesity rates have tripled, to 24%, between the periods between the early 1970s and 2006
  • Smoking rates among young women declined between 1997 and 2006 by nearly 20%, but not among young men; in 2006, 29% of young men were smokers
  • In 2005, accidental injuries, homicide and suicide accounted for 70% of deaths among young adults
  • Between 1999 and 2004, nearly 9% of those aged 20 to 29 reported depression, anxiety disorder or panic disorder in the past 12 months
  • In 2006, 34% of those aged 20 to 24 lacked insurance, compared to 21% of 18- and 19-year-olds and 29% of those aged 25 to 29
  • Between 2004 and 2006, 17% of those in the 18-29 group reported needing but not receiving medical care, prescription medicines, mental health care or eyeglasses due to lack of money

The report also revealed a number of trends among older adults. 

  • In 2006, life expectancies for men and women were 3.6 years and 1.9 years higher than in 1990, respectively, due to declines in death rates from heart disease, stroke and cancer
  • Between 2003 and 2006, 65% of men and 80% of women 75 and older had high blood pressure or were taking medication to treat it, compared to 36% of adults aged 45 to 54
  • Increased use of cholesterol-lowering drugs had partially contributed to a decline in the percentage of the population with high cholesterol
  • About 25% of adults 60 and older had diabetes between 2003 and 2006
  • Obesity rates remain high, but are not increasing as rapidly as before; more than a third of adults 20 and older were obese in 2005 and 2006


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