Early Release of Selected Estimates Based on Data From the January–September 2016 National Health Interview Survey

February 23, 2017
Tainya C. Clarke, Ph.D., M.P.H., Health Statistician

Tainya C. Clarke, Ph.D., M.P.H., Health Statistician

Questions for Tainya C. Clarke, Ph.D., M.P.H., Health Statistician and Lead Author on the “Early Release of Selected Estimates Based on Data From the January–September 2016 National Health Interview Survey.”

Q: What health measures does this report look at?

TC: The measures covered in this report are lack of health insurance coverage and type of coverage, having a usual place to go for medical care, obtaining needed medical care, receipt of influenza vaccination, receipt of pneumococcal vaccination, obesity, leisure–time physical activity, current cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing, general health status, personal care needs, serious psychological distress, diagnosed diabetes, and asthma episodes and current asthma. Three of these measures (lack of health insurance coverage, leisure-time physical activity, and current cigarette smoking) are directly related to Healthy People 2020 Leading Health Indicators.


Q: How do you collect your data for these surveys?

TC: The data is collected by household interview surveys that are fielded continuously throughout the year by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Interviews are conducted in respondents’ homes. Health and socio-demographic information is collected on each member of all families residing within a sampled household. Within each family, additional information is collected from one randomly selected adult (the “sample adult”) aged 18 years or older and one randomly selected child (the “sample child”) aged 17 years or younger. NHIS data is collected at one point in time so we cannot determine causation. Data presented in this report are quarterly data and are preliminary.


Q: What are some of the findings that you would highlight in this early release report?

TC: Here are some findings from the early release report:

• The percentage of persons of all ages who had a usual place to go for medical care decreased, from 87.9% in 2003 to 85.4% in 2010, and then increased to 88.3% in January–September 2016.

• The percentage of persons who failed to obtain needed medical care due to cost increased, from 4.3% in 1999 to 6.9% in 2009 and 2010, and then decreased to 4.4% in January–September 2016.

• The percentage of adults aged 65 and over who had ever received a pneumococcal vaccination increased from 63.5% in 2015 to 67.3% in January–September 2016.

• The prevalence of obesity among U.S. adults aged 20 and over increased, from 19.4% in 1997 to 30.6% in January–September 2016.

• In the third quarter of 2016, 52.8% of U.S. adults aged 18 and over met the 2008 federal physical activity guidelines for aerobic activity (based on leisure-time activity). This was higher than the third quarter of 2015 estimate of 49.5%.

• The prevalence of current cigarette smoking among U.S. adults declined, from 24.7% in 1997 to 15.3% in 2015 and remained low through the third quarter of 2016 (15.9%).
• During January–September 2016, men were more likely to have had at least 1 heavy alcohol drinking day (31.6%) in the past year compared with women (18.6%).

• The prevalence of diagnosed diabetes among adults aged 18 and over increased, from 5.1% in 1997 to 9.2% in 2010, and has since remained stable through January–September 2016.


Q: What do the findings in this report tell us about the health of the country overall?

TC: Since 2010, the percentage of uninsured persons has decreased by almost 50% (16.0% vs 8.8%) and the percentage of persons who failed to obtain needed medical care due to cost has also shown a significant decline during the same time period (6.9% to 4.4%). These two indicators demonstrate increased access to healthcare from 2010 to September 2016.


Q: Are there any trends in this report that Americans should be concerned about?

TC: Although in the 3rd quarter of 2016, 52.8% of U.S. adults met the 2008 federal physical activity guidelines for aerobic activity; obesity is an epidemic that has seen a steady increase since 1997 and now affects just under one third (30.6%) of U.S. adults.

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Smoking Prevalence and Cessation Before and During Pregnancy

February 10, 2016

Smoking_Pregnancy

A new NCHS report presents findings on maternal smoking prevalence and cessation before and during pregnancy as collected on the 2003 U.S. Standard Certificate of Live Birth, for a 46-state and District of Columbia reporting area, representing 95% of all births in the United States.

Findings:

  • About 1 in 10 women who gave birth in 2014 smoked during the 3 months before pregnancy (10.9%), and about one-quarter of these women (24.2%) did not smoke during pregnancy (i.e., quit before pregnancy).
  • The smoking rate at any time during pregnancy was 8.4%, with 20.6% of women who smoked in the first or second trimesters quitting by the third trimester.
  • Smoking during pregnancy was more prevalent for women aged 20–24 (13.0%) than for other ages, and by race and Hispanic origin, the highest rate was for non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native women (18%).

Discussions Between Health Care Providers and Their Patients Who Smoke Cigarettes

December 8, 2014

Smoking is the primary cause of preventable death in the United States. Studies show that a majority of smokers would like to quit and that even simple advice from physicians has a positive effect on cessation rates. Federal and nonprofit agencies have recommended screening and identification of smokers by clinicians and health care delivery systems, as well as intervention and guidance on quitting. Studies suggest that older persons, women, heavier smokers, and those in poorer health are more likely to receive medical advice to quit smoking.

A new NCHS report extends earlier research by identifying key population and health characteristics associated with those U.S. cigarette smokers aged 18 and over who had a health professional talk to them about their smoking.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • About one-half of adult cigarette smokers had a doctor or other health professional talk to them about their smoking in the past 12 months.
  • Men, younger adults, Hispanic adults, and non-Hispanic Asian adults were less likely than other cigarette smokers to have had a health professional talk to them about their smoking.
  • Healthier smokers, younger smokers, and those who did not smoke cigarettes every day were less likely than other cigarette smokers to have had a health professional talk to them about their smoking.
  • Cigarette smokers with selected health conditions linked to smoking were more likely than those without these conditions to have had a health professional talk to them about their smoking.