April is Alcohol Awareness Month

March 29, 2019

Abuse of alcohol can lead to a variety of health problems, including chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, which is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States. In 2017, 41,743 Americans died of chronic liver disease and cirrhosis¹. Nearly two-thirds of those deaths were to men. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis is the 10th leading killer among American men.

According to National Health Interview Survey data collected from January to September 2018, nearly one in three men in the U.S. had at least one “heavy drinking day” in the past year, compared with one in five women. While this heavy drinking trend has remained stable among men since 2006, it has increased among women over the same period.

Regionally, the highest death rates from chronic liver disease and cirrhosis are among states located west of the Mississippi River, with New Mexico’s rate the highest of any state. New Mexico’s death rate from chronic liver disease and cirrhosis is more than twice as high as the rate for Nevada, which has the 11th highest death rate in the country, and three times as high as the rate for Delaware.

Nationally, the death rate from chronic liver disease and cirrhosis reached the highest level in several decades in 2017, at 10.9 deaths per 100,000 population – nearly 24% higher than it was in 2006.

¹CDC WONDER Detailed Mortality File, 2017

QuickStats: Percentage of Adults Who Met Federal Guidelines for Aerobic Physical Activity Through Leisure-Time Activity by Race/Ethnicity — National Health Interview Survey, 2008–2017

March 29, 2019

During 2008–2017, the percentage of adults aged 18 years or older who met federal guidelines for aerobic physical activity through leisure-time activity increased from 43.5% in 2008 to 54.1% in 2017.

This pattern was seen in each race/ethnicity group shown, with an increase from 33.4% to 45.0% for Hispanic, 34.1% to 44.3% for non-Hispanic black, and 46.0% to 58.6% for non-Hispanic white adults.

Throughout the period, non-Hispanic white adults were more likely to meet the guidelines through leisure-time activity than were non-Hispanic black and Hispanic adults.

Source: National Health Interview Survey, 2008–2017. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/index.htm.



QuickStats: Age-Adjusted Percentage of Adults Aged 18 Years or Older Who Reported That They Needed Dental Care During the Past 12 Months But Didn’t Get It Because They Couldn’t Afford It, by Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin

March 22, 2019

In 2017, more women (12.7%) than men (8.8%) reported that at some time during the past 12 months they needed dental care but didn’t get it because they couldn’t afford it.

This pattern was consistent within each racial/ethnic group: Hispanic, non-Hispanic white, and non-Hispanic black.

Among both men and women, Hispanic adults were most likely to have unmet needs for dental care because they couldn’t afford it.

Nearly 17% of Hispanic women could not afford to meet their dental care needs, compared with 12.8% of non-Hispanic black women and 11.8% of non-Hispanic white women; 12.3% of Hispanic men had unmet dental care needs, compared with 8.6% of non-Hispanic black men and 8.3% of non-Hispanic white men.

Source: Tables of Summary Health Statistics, 2017.



Drug Overdose Deaths Involving Fentanyl, 2011–2016

March 21, 2019

Questions for Lead Author Merianne Spencer, M.P.H., Health Statistician, of “Drug Overdose Deaths Involving Fentanyl, 2011-2016.”

Q: Why did you decide to do a report specifically on drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl?

MS: Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is of interest to public health officials because of its increased involvement in drug overdose deaths and contributing role in the opioid epidemic. Understanding trends in drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl by demographic and regional characteristics can provide insights to better target interventions for populations at risk and to inform agencies working to combat this public health problem.

Q: Do you have any data that is more recent than 2016? 

MS: Mortality data for deaths occurring in 2017 are currently available for research use.  However, these data were not available at the time of the analysis for this study, and the text analyses required for preparing this report are time intensive.

Q: How did drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl vary by age, sex and race?

MS: The rates for drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl varied by age with the largest rates among adults aged 25-34 and 35-44. Exponential increases occurred in all age groups, with the greatest increases per year among adults aged 35-44, 25-34 and 15-24.

The rates for males and females were similar in 2011, 2012 and 2013.  In 2013, the rates for males and females began to diverge such that by 2016, the rate for males (8.6 per 100,000) was roughly 2.8 times the rate for females (3.1).

For race/ethnicity, non-Hispanic whites had higher rates than non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics for the entire study period.  However, the annual percentage changes were greater among non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics.

Q: Was there a specific finding in your report that surprised you?

MS: I was surprised to see how high the average annual percentage change in rates was for teenagers and young adults aged 15-24. While the death rate for this age group was not as high as the rates for persons aged 25-34 and 35-44, the average annual percentage increase in the rate was among the greatest, increasing an average of almost 94% each year from 2011 through 2016.

Q: What is the take home message for this report?

MS: The rise in drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl was noticeable in certain subpopulations and regions.  Overall, death rates, which were stable in 2011 and 2012, significantly increased from 2013 through 2016.

Death rates for males and females were similar in 2011 and 2012, but then diverged, with rates for males increasing faster than the rate for females starting in 2013. Non-Hispanic whites had the highest death rates; however, the rates for non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics increased at a greater pace than those for non-Hispanic whites.  All age groups had increasing rates, but the greatest increases were among those aged 15-24, 25-34 and 35-44.  There were also regional differences, with the highest rates and greatest increase in rates occurring in the East Coast and Upper Midwest regions.

Strategies Used by Adults Aged 18–64 to Reduce Their Prescription Drug Costs, 2017

March 19, 2019

A new NCHS report examines changes over time in the percentage of adults aged 18–64 who were prescribed medication and reported using these selected strategies to reduce their prescription drug costs in the past 12 months.

Key Findings:

  • Among adults aged 18–64 who were prescribed medication in the past 12 months, the percentage who used selected strategies to reduce their prescription drug costs in the past 12 months decreased from 2013 through 2015 and then remained stable from 2015 through 2017.
  • In 2017, among adults aged 18–64 who were prescribed medication, women were more likely than men to use selected strategies to reduce their prescription drug costs.
  • In 2017, strategies for reducing prescription drug costs were most commonly practiced among those who were uninsured compared with those with private insurance or Medicaid, as 39.5% asked their doctor for a lower-cost medication, 33.6% did not take their medication as prescribed, and 13.9% used alternative therapies.

QuickStats: Age-Adjusted Death Rates by State — United States, 2017

March 15, 2019

In 2017, the overall U.S. death rate was 731.9 per 100,000 standard population; rates varied by state.

The five states with the highest age-adjusted death rates were West Virginia (957.1 deaths per 100,000 standard population), Mississippi (951.3), Kentucky (929.9), Alabama (917.7), and Oklahoma (902.4).

The five states with the lowest death rates were Hawaii (584.9), California (618.7), New York (623.6), Connecticut (651.2), and Minnesota (656.4).

Source: National Vital Statistics System. Underlying cause of death data, 1999–2017. https://wonder.cdc.gov/ucd-icd10.html


Dementia Mortality in the United States, 2000–2017

March 14, 2019

A new NCHS report presents data on mortality attributable to dementia. Data for dementia as an underlying cause of death from 2000 through 2017 are shown by selected characteristics such as age, sex, race and Hispanic origin, and state of residence.

Trends in dementia deaths overall and by specific cause are presented. The reporting of dementia as a contributing cause of death is also described.

Key Findings:

  • In 2017, a total of 261,914 deaths attributable to dementia as an underlying cause of death were reported in the United States. Forty-six percent of these deaths were due to Alzheimer disease.
  • In 2017, the age-adjusted death rate for dementia as an underlying cause of death was 66.7 deaths per 100,000 U.S. standard population. Age-adjusted death rates were higher for females (72.7) than for males (56.4).
  • Death rates increased with age from 56.9 deaths per 100,000 among people aged 65–74 to 2,707.3 deaths per 100,000 among people aged 85 and over.
  • Age-adjusted death rates were higher among the non-Hispanic white population (70.8) compared with the non-Hispanic black population (65.0) and the Hispanic population (46.0).
  • Overall, age-adjusted death rates for dementia increased from 2000 to 2017.
  • Rates were steady from 2013 through 2016, and increased from 2016 to 2017. Patterns of reporting the individual dementia causes varied across states and across time.