(HealthDay News) — A new study finds mixed results for the health of America’s aging “Baby Boom” generation, with nearly half of people ages 55–64 taking a prescription cardiovascular drug and about one in five dealing with diabetes. However, the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also finds that the overall mortality rate in this age group has gone down over the past decade.
The new data comes from an annual report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, looking at 2014 statistics on the health of all Americans. This year, the CDC zeroed in on adults ages 55–64, who form the core of the “Boomer” generation. On average, people in this age range can expect to live anywhere from another 19–27 years. But they also face a growing risk of developing chronic health problems, the agency said.
Between 2009–2012, an estimated 19% of adults ages 55–64 had diabetes, 40% were obese, and 51% had hypertension – numbers the CDC said haven’t changed from statistics taken a decade before. Due in large part to the prevalence of these chronic conditions, use of prescription drugs is high. In 2009–2012, approximately 45% of adults in this age group took a prescription cardiovascular drug, about 32% took a cholesterol-lowering drug, 16% used prescription drugs for gastric reflux, 15% used prescription analgesics, nearly 13% used some type of diabetes medication, and more than 14% took an antidepressant.
However, between 2003–2013, the overall mortality rate for Americans ages 55–64 fell, the CDC said. Cancer mortality rates are now higher than those for cardiovascular disease. Between 2002-2003 and 2012-2013, the rate of cigarette smoking among adults ages 55–64 fell from nearly 20% to just over 18%. However, high rates of smoking still afflict the poor, with rates three times higher among those living well below the poverty line compared to people from more affluent groups.