Obesity Threatens Americans over 50

June 10, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Obesity threatens the strides that older Americans have made in recent years to stay healthy, a recent report by the Association of Retired Persons (AARP) found.

Reports have shown that some 60% of US adults are overweight or obese, as are nearly 13% of children.

While Americans aged 50 and older are living longer, smoking less and developing fewer disabilities than their predecessors, obesity among the group has nearly doubled between 1982 and 2000, to 26.7% from 14.4%.

At the same time, the report found that smoking among men and women has decreased by 29% in the last decade. And, more Americans are taking preventive measures concerning their health: more women are getting mammograms, and more older Americans report getting services like blood pressure checks, cholesterol screening and prostate exams.

The study also found that among those aged between 50 and 64,

  • more people are uninsured today than in the past, due to less health coverage by employers for early retirees and gaps in Medicare coverage,
  • health costs are increasing. Between 1977 and 1996, health care spending for that age group increased 310%, almost twice as fast as inflation, and
  • people tend to be more skeptical about the health care system than those over 65. They are less likely to believe their doctors will tell them and more likely to obtain information online