Older Americans Growing Obese
Although older Americans are living longer, they are also more obese, according to a report from a number of federal agencies.
The analysis, “Older Americans 2012,” was developed by agencies including the Centers for Disease Control, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Social Security Administration.
Among the findings: In 2009-2010, 38 percent of people 65 and older were obese; in 1988-1994, that figure was 22 percent. The report called obesity “a major cause of preventable disease and premature death.”
Statistics also showed that men had a sharper rise in obesity than women, although as a whole, a higher percentage of women were obese. In 1988-1994, 24 percent of men 65-74 were obese; by 2009-2010, the figure was 43 percent. The comparable figures for women were 27 percent in 1988-1994 and 45 percent in 2009-2010.
But the report also said that the rising cost of housing is “the most significant issue by far.” In 1985, 30 percent of households with a householder or spouse over 65 spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing and utilities. By 2009, the percentage of older people with a high financial burden for housing reached 40 percent.
The report cited additional trends including increased use of hospice in the last 30 days of life, more participation by older women in the workforce and decreased use of tobacco.
All these issues are going to become even more important in the coming years; the report said that Americans over 65 account for 13 percent of the population now, while in 2030 the figure will be closer to 20 percent.