April 27, 2016

hus15_cover_FINALThe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released “Health, United States, 2015”. This is the 39th annual report card on the nation’s health, along with a special feature on racial and ethnic health disparities.

The special feature was inspired by the landmark 1985 Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Black and Minority Health (Heckler Report), which documented significant health disparities among racial and ethnic groups.


  • The difference between the highest (non-Hispanic black) and lowest (non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander) infant mortality rates among the five racial and ethnic groups narrowed from 9.41 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1999 to 7.21 in 2013.
  • During 1999–2014 non-Hispanic black mothers experienced the highest percentage of low-risk cesarean deliveries (29.9 percent in 2014) among the five racial and ethnic groups while non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native mothers experienced the lowest (21.5 percent in 2014).
  • Among Hispanic mothers during 1999-2014, Cuban mothers experienced the highest percentage of low-risk cesarean deliveries among the five Hispanic-origin groups (41.4 percent in 2014) while Mexican mothers experienced the lowest (24.1 percent in 2014).
  • In 2011–2014 for children and adolescents aged 2–19 years, Hispanic children and adolescents had the highest prevalence of obesity (21.9 percent) and non-Hispanic Asian children and adolescents had the lowest prevalence (8.6 percent).
  • The difference for women between the highest (non-Hispanic white) and lowest (non-Hispanic Asian) percentages of current cigarette smokers among racial and ethnic groups narrowed from 17.5 percentage points in 1999 to 13.2 in 2014 (percentages are age-adjusted).
  • The difference between the highest and lowest percentage of uninsured adults aged 18-64, narrowed from a difference of 24.9 percentage points in 1999 (Hispanic adults compared with non-Hispanic white adults) to a difference of 19.9 percentage points in the first six months of 2015 (Hispanic adults compared with non-Hispanic Asian adults).
  • In 2014 among adults aged 18-64, Hispanic adults had the highest percentage of those not receiving needed dental care in the past 12 months due to cost (15.7 percent) and non-Hispanic Asian adults had the lowest percentage (6.3 percent).

New Health, United States Spotlight Infographics

February 17, 2016

HUSSpotlight_Winter16_PostageHealth, United States Spotlights are infographics of selected health data available in Health, United States, the annual report on the health of the nation submitted by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to the President and Congress.

Each Spotlight displays approximately four health indicators allowing users to visualize and interpret complex information from different data systems and Health, United States subject areas. Multiple infographics will be released throughout the year to spotlight important and relevant health data from Health, United States.

The full Health, United States reports are available at:

Annual Report on the Nation’s Health Spotlights 55-64 Year Age Group

May 8, 2015

huscover2014This week, CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) released Health, United States, 2014, the 38th annual report from the HHS Secretary to the President and Congress on the health of the nation.

This year’s report includes a special feature profiling the health of people 55-64 years old, the heart of the so-called “Baby Boomer” generation, who have longer life expectancy than in the past, but who are at growing risk of developing chronic conditions.  Most will be covered by Medicare within 10 years, which presents challenges to the country’s health care system.


  • Among 55-64 year olds in 2009-2012, the prevalence of diabetes was close to 19%, the prevalence of obesity was about 40% and the prevalence of hypertension was just over 51%, unchanged from a decade earlier.
  • Mortality rates for all-cause death rates declined among 55-64 year olds between 2003 and 2013; cancer death rates were higher than heart disease death rates in this group throughout the decade.
  • In 2012–2013, just over 18% of adults aged 55–64 were current cigarette smokers, which is 8% lower than the percentage in 2002–2003 (19.7%). Those living below 100% of poverty were three times as likely to be current smokers as those at 400% or more of poverty (32.4% vs 11.2%).
  • Close to half of 55-64 year olds reported receiving an annual influenza vaccination in 2013, up from 40% in 2003, while use of pneumococcal vaccinations for high risk group members remained at similar levels (about one out of three).
  • In 2009–2012, nearly half (45%) of adults aged 55-64 took a prescription cardiovascular drug, nearly one-third (31.8%) took a cholesterol-lowering drug and 16% used prescription gastric reflux medications in the past month. Fifteen percent used a prescription analgesic, 12.9% used an anti-diabetic agent and 14.4% used a prescription antidepressant.

Health, United States, 2012

May 30, 2013

Health, United States:2012 CoverOn May 30, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) published its annual report on the nation’s health.  Health, United States, 2012— which includes a Special Feature on Emergency Care—is the 36th report on the health status of the nation and is submitted each year by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to the President and the Congress of the United States in compliance with Section 308 of the Public Health Service Act.

Highlights of this year’s special section on emergency care include:

  • During 2001 through 2011, both children under age 18 and adults aged 18–64 with Medicaid coverage were more likely than uninsured Americans and those with private insurance coverage to have at least one emergency room visit in the past year.
  • In 2009–2010, cold symptoms were the most common reason for emergency room visits by children (27 percent), and injuries were the most common reason for visits by adults (14 percent.)
  • Between 2000 and 2010, 35 percent of emergency room visits included an x-ray, while the use of advanced imaging scans (CT or MRI) increased from 5 percent to 17 percent of visits.
  • In 2009–2010, 81 percent of emergency department visits were discharged for follow-up care as needed, 16 percent ended with the patient being admitted to the hospital, 2 percent ended with the patient leaving without completing the visit, and less than 1 percent ended in the patient’s death.
  • In 2009–2010, 59 percent of emergency department visits (excluding hospital admissions) included at least one drug prescribed at discharge.
  • During 2001-2011, the percentage of persons with at least one emergency department visit in the past year was stable at 20 percent to 22 percent, and the percentage of persons reporting two or more visits was stable at 7 percent to 8 percent.

 Other highlights from the report include:

  • Between 2010 and 2011, the percentage of adults aged 19-25 who were uninsured decreased from 34 percent to 28 percent.
  • Expenditures for hospital care accounted for 31 percent of all national health care expenditures in 2010. Physician and clinical services accounted for 20 percent of the total, followed by prescription drugs (10 percent), and nursing care facilities and continuing care retirement communities (6 percent).
  • In 2011, 48 percent of adults aged 18 and over did not meet the 2008 federal physical activity guidelines.

Health news you may have missed

April 15, 2009

The National Center for Health Statistics’ Office of Public Affairs keeps an archive of previously released press releases going back to 1994. The news releases cover the wide range of important and interesting health topics that our data cover. To search these news releases by date or by subject matter, visit the NCHS Press Room and click on the News Release Archives link.


Some recent highlights:


Teen Birth Rates Up Again in 2007 


Wireless Phone Use Varies Widely Across U.S.


Latest Report on Nation’s Health Focuses on Young Adults


4 in 10 Adults, 1 in 9 Kids Use CAM Therapy


See more at




Report card for Nation’s health focuses on young adults aged 18-29

February 18, 2009
Young adults in the United States aged 18-29 face a number of health challenges, including increases in obesity, high injury rates, and a lack of insurance coverage compared to other adults, according to the latest report on the nation’s health from NCHS.
  • Obesity rates have tripled among young adults in the past three decades, rising from 8 percent in 1971-74 to 24 percent in 2005-06.
  • In 2006, 29 percent of young men were current cigarette smokers compared to 21 percent of young adult women.  
  • In 2005, unintentional injuries (‘‘accidents’’), homicide, and suicide accounted for 70 percent of deaths among young adults 18–29 years of age. Three-quarters of the 47,000 deaths in this age group occurred among young men. 
  • In 2006, young adults aged 20–24 were more likely to be uninsured (34 percent) than those aged 18–19 (21 percent) and those aged 25–29 (29 percent). 

    For more visit

Latest Report on Access to Health Care

December 5, 2007

Nearly one in five U.S. adults – more than 40 million people – report they do not have adequate access to the health care they need, according to the annual report on the nation’s health released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

The report, “Health, United States, 2007,” is a compilation of more than 150 health tables prepared by CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.  Access full report here.

Anti-depressant Use

August 10, 2007

CNN recently ran a story that has gained some attention. It is entitled CDC: Antidepressants most prescribed drugs in U.S.

[…]According to a government study, antidepressants have become the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States. They’re prescribed more than drugs to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, or headaches. CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen discusses the CDC study on antidepressants »

In its study, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at 2.4 billion drugs prescribed in visits to doctors and hospitals in 2005. Of those, 118 million were for antidepressants.

High blood pressure drugs were the next most-common with 113 million prescriptions.

The use of antidepressants and other psychotropic drugs — those that affect brain chemistry — has skyrocketed over the last decade.

Adult use of antidepressants almost tripled between the periods 1988-1994 and 1999-2000.

Between 1995 and 2002, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the use of these drugs rose 48 percent, the CDC reported.

The data for this report comes from our flagship publication Health, United States and in the 2006 edition is found at Table 92. This publication is an invaluable resource for anyone writing about health issues. If you are just interested in the drug use data click here.

Anti-depressant use by minors

April 17, 2007

Information on the number of prescriptions written to  minors for anti-depressants can be found in Health, United States 2006 at Table 92. (located on page 331 of a very large .pdf file).

Briefly in the period 1995-96 there were 1.9 prescriptions written for anti-depressants for every 100 persons aged 18 and under. By 2003-04 that number was 8.0.  While both boys and girls received anti-depressants at the same rate (1.9) in 1995-96, in the 2003-04 period boys received 9.1 prescriptions per 100 persons and girls received 6.8.

Unfortunately, we did not collect this data before 1995.