Questions for Lead Author Tainya C. Clarke, Ph.D., M.P.H., Health Statistician, of “Early Release of Selected Estimates Based on Data From January-June 2018 National Health Interview Survey.”
Q: What are some of the findings that you would highlight in this early release report?
TC: Diabetes and obesity continue to increase among U.S. adults. The prevalence of diagnosed diabetes among adults aged 18 and over increased from 7.8% in 2006 to 10.2% in January–June 2018. During the same period the prevalence of obesity among U.S. adults aged 20 and over increased from 26.4% to 31.7%.
Q: What do the findings in this report tell us about the health of the country overall?
TC: The health of our nation is multifaceted and quite complex. While we make improvements in some areas, such as increased leisure time physical activity and declining smoking rates, other areas leave a lot to be desired. The prevalence of diabetes and obesity continue to rise.
Q: Are there any trends in this report that Americans should be concerned about?
TC: Yes, the observed increase in the prevalence of diabetes and obesity, suggests that Americans need to work towards achieving a healthy balance between dietary intake and exercise.
Q: Why did you decide to only look back to 2006? Previous NHIS Early Release reports went back to 1997?
TC: The Early Release Key Health Indicators report transitioned from static quarterly reports to a dynamic report back in June 2018. In the previous format, we included estimates back to 1997, but the trend results were getting unwieldy to produce and interpret on a quarterly basis. Thus, we made the decision to start the trends at 2006 for the newer format. Readers can still go back and view the static reports and combined with the dynamic report, they can construct the longer trend.
Q: What is the take home message for this report?
TC: Americans are making significant improvement is some aspects of health, but are falling short in others.