Publication Abstract

Authors: Schoenborn CA, Heyman KM

Title: Health characteristics of adults aged 55 years and over: United States, 2004-2007.

Journal: Natl Health Stat Report (16):1-31

Date: 2009 Jul 08

Abstract: OBJECTIVES: This report highlights selected health characteristics of four age groups of older adults-55-64 years, 65-74 years, 75-84 years, and 85 years and over-using data from the 2004 through 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Data are presented for each of these age groups by sex, race and Hispanic origin, and by poverty, health insurance, and marital status. METHODS: The estimates were derived from the family and sample adult components of the 2004-2007 NHIS. Estimates are based on interviews with 36,984 sample adults aged 55 years and over, weighted to be nationally representative of adults in this age group. RESULTS: Prevalence rates for fair or poor health status, selected chronic health conditions, difficulties with physical or social impairments, health care access and utilization, and health behaviors such as healthy weight, never having smoked, and currently being a nonsmoker, generally increased with advancing age. Prevalence of leisure-time physical activity and sleeping seven to eight hours decreased with age. Variations in health were noted for each age group, with the most consistent and striking results found for poverty status and health insurance coverage. Poor adults, near poor adults, and adults with Medicaid were the most disadvantaged in terms of health status, physical and social functioning, health care utilization, and health behaviors. CONCLUSION: Health disparities exist across subgroups of older adults and vary by age.