May 21, 2013
NCHS has put out a new report that presents selected prevalence estimates for five key health behaviors among adults — alcohol use, cigarette smoking, leisure-time physical activity, body mass index, and sufficient sleep. The report is based on a total of 76,669 completed interviews with a sample of adults aged 18 and over covering the period 2008-2010.
Key Findings from the Report:
- About 6 in 10 (64.9%) U.S. adults were current drinkers in 2008–2010; about 1 in 5 adults (20.9%) were lifetime abstainers.
- About one in five adults (20.2%) were current smokers and over one-half of adults (58.6%) had never smoked cigarettes. Less than one-half of current smokers (45.8%) attempted to quit smoking in the past year.
- Nearly one-half (46.1%) of adults met the federal guidelines for aerobic physical activity, about one-quarter (23.0%) of adults met the federal guidelines for muscle-strengthening physical activity, and about one in five adults (19.4%) met both guidelines.
- About 6 in 10 adults (62.1%) were overweight or obese (BMI ≥ 25), with about 4 in 10 (36.1%) adults being of healthy weight (18.5 ≤ BMI < 25).
- About 7 in 10 adults (69.7%) met the Healthy People 2020 objective for sufficient sleep, defined as at least 8 hours for adults aged 18–21 and at least 7 hours for adults aged 22 and over on
average during a 24-hour period.
Data representing the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population were collected using computer-assisted personal interviews. NHIS is a general purpose in-person household survey, collecting basic health, health care utilization, and demographic information on all household members with the Family questionnaire. Health behavior questions are asked in the Sample Adult survey component.
May 21, 2013
Though CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics does not have specific data on tornado deaths, we do have data from our mortality database on deaths from “cataclysmic storms,” which includes tornado deaths (International Classification of Diseases Code X-37). This specific ICD code includes blizzards, hurricanes and tornadoes, but doesn’t separate deaths by tornadoes alone.
Below is a chart from our WONDER database that shows how many deaths occurred under ICD Code X-37 from 1999 to 2010. There are a few things to observe from these data: First, according the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association, the spike in deaths in 1999 was a result of 93 tornado deaths. There was also another spike in X-37 deaths which occurred in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, the notorious storms that devastated the Gulf Coast. Finally, the 2008 spike in deaths was a result of 125 tornado fatalities that year.
May 6, 2013
Allergic conditions are among the most common medical conditions affecting children in the United States. An allergic condition is a hypersensitivity disorder in which the immune system reacts to substances in the environment that are normally considered harmless. Food or digestive allergies, skin allergies (such as eczema), and respiratory allergies (such as hay fever) are the most common allergies among children.
NCHS has put out a report that presents recent trends in the prevalence of allergies and differences by selected sociodemographic characteristics for children under age 18 years.
Among children aged 0–17 years, the prevalence of food allergies increased from 3.4% in 1997–1999 to 5.1% in 2009–2011. The prevalence of skin allergies increased from 7.4% in 1997–1999 to 12.5% in 2009–2011. There was no significant trend in respiratory allergies from 1997–1999 to 2009–2011, yet respiratory allergy remained the most common type of allergy among children throughout this period (17% in 2009–2011). Skin allergy prevalence was also higher than food allergy prevalence for each period from 1997–2011
Key Findings from the Report:
- The prevalence of skin allergies decreased with age. In contrast, the prevalence of respiratory allergies increased with age.
- Hispanic children had a lower prevalence of food allergy, skin allergy, and respiratory allergy compared with children of other race or ethnicities. Non-Hispanic black children were more likely to have skin allergies and less likely to have respiratory allergies compared with non-Hispanic white children.
- Food and respiratory allergy prevalence increased with income level. Children with family income equal to or greater than 200% of the poverty level had the highest prevalence rates.
Data source and methods
Prevalence estimates for allergic conditions were obtained from the Health Data Interactive (HDI) table, “Allergic conditions, ages 0–17: U.S., 1997–2011,” available from the Health Data Interactive website. NHIS data were used to estimate the prevalence of allergic conditions for this HDI table.
May 1, 2013
Increased consumption of added sugars, which are sweeteners added to processed and prepared foods, has been linked to a decrease in intake of essential micronutrients and an increase in body weight. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 recommends limiting total intake of discretionary calories, including both added sugars and solid fats, to 5%–15% per day. Recent analyses indicate that children and adolescents obtain approximately 16% of their total caloric intake from added sugars.
NCHS has put out a new report that presents results for consumption of added sugars among U.S. adults for 2005–2010.
Key findings from the report:
- Approximately 13% of adults’ total caloric intakes came from added sugars between 2005 and 2010.
- The mean percentage of total calories from added sugars decreased with increasing age and increasing income.
- Non-Hispanic black men and women consumed a larger percentage of their total calories from added sugars than non-Hispanic white and Mexican-American men and women.
- More of the calories from added sugars came from foods rather than beverages.
- More of the calories from added sugars were consumed at home rather than away from home.
The somewhat counter-intuitive finding in this report is that most calories from added sugars come from foods rather than beverages. However, other research has shown that when looking at individual items – either specific food items or specific beverages – regular sodas are the leading food source of added sugars for adults aged 18-54.
April 23, 2013
HYATTSVILLE, MD – The Director of CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Dr. Edward J. Sondik, has announced that he will be leaving NCHS at the end of April. Charles J. Rothwell, currently the Center’s Director of Vital Statistics, began as Acting Director of NCHS on April 1, 2013, as CDC searches for a permanent director.
Dr. Sondik started his career by studying electrical engineering for control systems, computers, and operations research while earning a doctorate degree at Stanford University. In the 1970’s, he joined the National Institutes of Health to work on clinical trial policy for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. In 1982, he joined the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Here, he held a number of positions, including serving as deputy director of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, where among other duties, he oversaw the pioneering Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results cancer registry. He also served as acting director of NCI for a period of time prior to coming to CDC.
Rothwell takes over after earning the distinction as a Top Leader in Federal Service as director of the Division of Vital Statistics at NCHS. Prior to working with CDC, he served more than a decade as the first director of North Carolina’s Center for Health Statistics. In addition, Rothwell helped develop the National Science Foundation’s digital government initiative and served on a peer review team for the Library of Congress’ National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program.
April 18, 2013
Infant mortality is an important indicator of the health of a nation. A new NCHS report describes the recent decline in the U.S. infant mortality rate from 2005 through 2011. Changes in infant mortality rates over time are examined by age at death, maternal race and ethnicity, cause of death, and state. In 2011, the U.S. infant mortality rate was 6.05 infant deaths per 1,000 live births (based on preliminary data), 12% lower than the rate of 6.87 in 2005, but not significantly lower than 6.15 in 2010.
Key findings from the report:
- Following a plateau from 2000 through 2005, the U.S. infant mortality rate declined 12% from 2005 through 2011. Declines for neonatal and postneonatal mortality were similar.
- From 2005 through 2011, infant mortality declined 16% for non-Hispanic black women and 12% for non-Hispanic white women.
- Infant mortality declined for four of the five leading causes of death during the 2005–2011 period.
- Infant mortality rates declined most rapidly among some, but not all, Southern states from 2005 through 2010. Despite these declines, states in the South still had among the highest rates in 2010. Rates were also high in 2010 in some states in the Midwest.
April 9, 2013
In 2011, Americans spent $45 billion out-of-pocket on retail prescription drugs. Some adults reduce prescription drug costs by skipping doses and delaying filling prescriptions; however, some cost-reduction strategies used by adults have been associated with negative health outcomes. For example, adults who do not take prescription medication as prescribed have been shown to have poorer health status and increased emergency room use, hospitalizations, and cardiovascular events
A new report from NCHS analyzes different strategies used by U.S. adults to reduce their prescription drug costs, by age, health insurance status, and poverty status, using data from the 2011 National Health Interview Survey.
Key findings from the report:
- Adults aged 18–64 and those aged 65 and over were equally likely to have asked their doctor for a lower-cost medication to save money on prescription drugs (19.8% and 20.3%, respectively).
- Adults aged 18–64 were twice as likely to not have taken medication as prescribed to save money (12.6%) compared with adults aged 65 and over (5.8%).
- Among adults aged 18–64, uninsured adults (23.1%) were more likely than those with Medicaid (13.6%) or those with private coverage (8.7%) to not have taken medication as prescribed to save money.
- Among adults aged 65 and over, those with only Medicare coverage were more likely to ask their doctor for a lower-cost medication to save money (24.9%) compared with those who had private coverage (20.1%) and those with Medicare and Medicaid (14.7%) coverage.