Fitness professionals are already in the business of health promotion. A recent report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Merck Company Foundation offers insight into key areas that need to be addressed among the older-adult population. The report, The State of Aging and Health in America 2007, presents current data on 15 key health indicators, including health status, health behaviors, preventive care and screening, and injuries for older Americans.
According to the report, 80% of Americans aged 65 and older live with at least one chronic disease that could lead to premature death and disability. Nearly 95% of healthcare expenditures go toward treating chronic health conditions. The report cites two demographic trends—aging Baby Boomers and increasing racial and ethnic diversity—that will add to the challenges of addressing chronic diseases. By 2030, the number of older Americans is expected to reach 71 million, or roughly 20% of the U.S. population. The report also estimates that by that same year, U.S. healthcare spending will have increased by 25%, owing to the aging of the population.
Among the many calls to action recommended in the report are environmental changes to facilitate physical activity and a “spotlight” on fall prevention, the leading cause of injury-related deaths and the most common cause of nonfatal injuries among older adults. To read more about what IDEA members are doing every day to address the specialized needs of older adults, read “Upgrading Aging” on page 17.
A searchable online version of The State of Aging and Health in America 2007 is available at www.cdc.gov/aging.