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NIH Report Details Health, Economic Status of Older Americans

Obesity is increasing among U.S. elderly, researchers find (Aug. 16)

According to a federal look at aging, announced by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on August 16, today's older Americans enjoy longer lives and better physical function than did previous generations, although an increased burden in housing costs and rising obesity may compromise these gains for some elderly persons. The report, Older Americans 2012: Key Indicators of Well-Being, tracks trends at regular intervals to see how older people are faring as the U.S. population grows older.

In 2010, 40 million people aged 65 years and older accounted for 13% of the total U.S. population. In 2030, the number and proportion of older Americans is expected to grow significantly — to 72 million, representing nearly 20% percent of the population.

With regard to seniors’ health status, Older Americans 2012 reports that obesity, a major cause of preventable disease and premature death, is increasing among the elderly. In 2009—2010, 38% of people aged 65 years and older were obese, compared with 22% in 1988—1994. In 2009—2010, 44% percent of people aged 65 to 74 years were obese, as were 29% of those aged 75 years and older.

For more information, visit the NIH Web site.

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