Special Diets Among Adults: United States, 2015–2018

November 3, 2020

A new NCHS report  released today shows the percentage of U.S. adults who, on a given day, were on any special diet and specific types of special diets in 2015–2018 and trends from 2007–2008 through 2017–2018.

Key Findings: 

  • In 2015–2018, 17.1% of U.S. adults aged 20 and over were on a special diet on a given day.
  • More women were on a special diet than men, and more adults aged 40–59 and 60 and over were on a special diet than adults aged 20–39.
  • More non-Hispanic white adults (17.8%) were on a special diet than non-Hispanic black (14.7%) and non-Hispanic Asian (14.9%) adults.
  • The most common type of special diet reported among all adults was a weight loss or low-calorie diet.
  • From 2007–2008 through 2017–2018, the percentage of adults on any special diet, weight loss or low-calorie diets, and low carbohydrate diets increased, while the percentage of adults on low-fat or low-cholesterol diets decreased.

QuickStats: Percentage of Adults Aged 18 Years or Older Who Had an Unmet Mental Health Care Need Because of Cost in the Past 12 Months by Age Group and Sex

October 30, 2020

In 2019, 5.3% of adults aged 18 years or older had an unmet mental health care need because of cost in the past 12 months.

Women (7.2%) were more likely than men (3.3%) to have an unmet mental health care need because of cost, regardless of age group.

The percentage of men with an unmet mental health care need decreased with age, from 5.1% among those aged 18–44 years to 0.8% among those aged 65 years or older.

Similarly, the percentage among women decreased with age, from 10.3% among those aged 18–44 years to 2.1% among those aged 65 years or older.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis.htm.


Abnormal Lipid Levels, Diagnosed High Cholesterol, and Lipid-lowering Treatment Among Adults: Los Angeles County and the United States, 1999–2014

October 27, 2020

A new NCHS Health E-Stat looks at the percentage of adults diagnosed with high cholesterol and, among those with diagnosed high cholesterol, those taking lipid-lowering medications and statins among adults in LA County and the United States during 1999–2006 and 2007–2014 .

Click to access Health-E-stat_lipidlevels-h.pdf

Excess Deaths During The Pandemic

October 26, 2020

On October 20, 2020, NCHS published an article in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), which focused on one of the key measures related to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. “Excess Deaths Associated with COVID-19, by Age and Race and Ethnicity — United States, January 26–October 3, 2020,” focused on the number of persons who have died from all causes, in excess of the expected number of deaths for a given place and time, starting with the period when the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in the U.S.  The authors write, “Estimates of excess deaths can provide a comprehensive account of mortality related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including deaths that are directly or indirectly attributable to COVID-19. Estimates of the numbers of deaths directly attributable to COVID-19 might be limited by factors such as the availability and use of diagnostic testing (including postmortem testing) and the accurate and complete reporting of cause of death information on the death certificate. Excess death analyses are not subject to these limitations because they examine historical trends in all-cause mortality to determine the degree to which observed numbers of deaths differ from historical norms.”  The article shows that overall, an estimated 299,028 excess deaths occurred in the United States from late January through October 3, 2020, with an estimated two out of three excess deaths (198,081) attributed to COVID-19.

The largest percentage increases were seen among adults aged 25–44 years and among Hispanic or Latino persons.  These results inform efforts to prevent mortality directly or indirectly associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, such as efforts to minimize disruptions to health care.  The full MMWR article can be found here:  https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6942e2.htm?s_cid=mm6942e2_w.  NCHS also has a page on its website specifically dedicated to excess deaths in the U.S., going back to 2017 and updated weekly:  https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/excess_deaths.htm.

QuickStats: Percentage of Adults Aged 20 Years or Older Who Used Antidepressant Medications in the Past 30 Days by Sex and Marital Status

October 23, 2020

During 2015–2018, 13.6% of adults aged 20 years or older used prescription antidepressant medications in the past 30 days.

Antidepressant use was higher among divorced, separated, or widowed (20.5%) adults than among either married or living with partner (12.3%) or never married (10.8%) adults.

There was no difference in use between married and never married adults.

These same patterns were observed for both men and women. Within every marital status category, a higher percentage of women compared with men took antidepressants.

Source: Brody DJ, Gu Q. Antidepressant use among adults: United States, 2015–2018. NCHS Data Brief, no 377. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2020.


Differences in Characteristics of Adult Day Services Centers, by Level of Medical Service Provision

October 23, 2020

A new NCHS report provides estimates of the most current nationally representative distribution of adult day services centers (ADSCs) and participants by level of the center’s medical service provision. It also examines differences in organizational characteristics, participant characteristics, and geographical characteristics of ADSCs by medical service provision.


  • In 2016, 16.1% of ADSCs were nonmedical, 30.6% were low medical, 39.7% were moderate medical, and 13.5% were high medical.
  • Daily attendance, Medicaid licensure, nurse staffing levels, use of electronic health records and any health information exchange with physicians, pharmacies, and hospitals all increased with increasing level of medical service provision.
  • Among participants, there was a significant increase by increasing level of medical service provision in the percentage of participants who were Hispanic and non-Hispanic races other than white or black, aged 65 and over, diagnosed with selected conditions, needed assistance with any activities of daily living, lived in a private residence alone, had Medicaid, and had any adverse events.
  • The percentage of centers located in metropolitan statistical areas and those located in the Northeast and South census regions increased with increasing level of medical service provision.

Current Contraceptive Status Among Women Aged 15–49: United States, 2017–2019

October 20, 2020

Questions for Kim Daniels, Health Statistician and Lead Author of “Current Contraceptive Status Among Women Aged 15–49: United States, 2017–2019.”

Q: Why does the CDC collect information on contraceptive use? 

KD: Collecting information on contraceptive use from women and men of reproductive age helps inform our understanding of variation in use across groups such as by age and education.  Information on contraceptive use offers potential insight into larger fertility patterns, including birth rates and incidence of unintended pregnancies. The chance that a woman not seeking a pregnancy will have an unintended pregnancy varies by whether any method of contraception is used and which method or methods she and her partner use.

Q: Was there a specific finding in the data that surprised you from this report?

KD: This report provides a snapshot of current contraceptive status among women ages 15-49 based on data from the 2017-2019 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG).  It describes contraceptive use and non-use during the month of interview and includes further detail on specific methods being used and reasons for non-use of contraception.  Differences in the most common methods currently used (female sterilization, oral contraceptive pill, long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), and the male condom) are shown by age, Hispanic origin and race, and education.

It may not count as surprising, but some of the overall percentages for specific types of methods being used are interesting.  If you look at contraceptive status among all women (shown in Figure 2), 18.1% of all women aged 15-49 are relying on female sterilization, 14.0% on the oral contraceptive pill, 10.4% on LARCs, and 8.4% on male condoms.  Taken together that accounts for about half of women in this age range (about 37 million of the 72.7 million women aged 15-49).

Some of the differences in current contraceptive use, by age, Hispanic origin and race, and education may be surprising.  For example, there are differences by education in the use of female sterilization, the oral contraceptive pill, and LARCs, but there are no statistically significant differences seen by education in the use of male condoms, as reported by women.

Q: How did you obtain this data for this report?

KD: This report is based on data from the 6,141 women in the female respondent file of the 2017-2019 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG).  The NSFG is a nationally representative sample of women and men ages 15-49 conducted using in-person interviews.  The 2017-2019 NSFG public-use data files are being released on the same day as this report.  Information about the survey, including how data were collected, as well as the downloadable data files and documentation, are available on the NSFG website here:  https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nsfg/index.htm

Q: Is there any trend data for this report?

KD: This report does not include any information about trends in contraceptive use.  However, since it is an update of a report published in 2018 using NSFG data from 2015-2017, comparisons can be made between the estimates in this report and those from the 2018 report.  The 2018 report using 2015-2017 NSFG data is available on the NCHS webpage here:  https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db327-h.pdf

Q: Where can I find more NSFG data?

KD: All NSFG data files, including the 2017-2019 public-use files, released on the same day as this report’s publication, are available to download from the NSFG website here:


The NSFG website also includes information about the survey, including how data were collected, as well as documentation about the survey methodology and how to analyze the data. Also on our website are reports published from data files released prior to this, which show statistics for contraceptive use and many other topics included in the NSFG.

Those previously published NSFG reports are available on this page:


This report is the first to be released with this data from 2017-2019.

World Statistics Day 2020

October 20, 2020

Happy World Statistics Day!  Here are some charts from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that rank the OECD countries by life expectancy, percentage of daily smokers and infant mortality.

NCHS will also be holding an informational webinar TODAY highlighting the NCHS Data Linkage Program.  More information can be found in the following link: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data-linkage/datalinkage-webinar.htm

For more information on World Statistics Day: https://worldstatisticsday.org/ 

QuickStats: Rate of Unintentional Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)–Related Deaths Among Persons Aged 24 Years and Under, by Age Group

October 16, 2020

From 1999 to 2018, death rates for unintentional TBI among persons aged 24 years and under declined across all age groups.

During the 20-year period, TBI-related death rates declined from 3.7 per 100,000 to 1.5 among children aged 0–4 years, from 3.0 to 0.9 for children and adolescents aged 5–14 years, from 14.7 to 4.4 for adolescents and young adults aged 15–19 years, and from 14.1 to 6.9 for young adults aged 20–24 years.

For most of the period, rates were highest for persons aged 20–24 years followed by those aged 15–19, 0–4, and 5–14 years.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System, Mortality Data. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/deaths.htm.


Breakfast Intake Among Children and Adolescents: United States, 2015–2018

October 14, 2020

Questions for Ana Terry, Health Statistician and Lead Author of “Breakfast Intake Among Children and Adolescents: United States, 2015–2018.”

Q: Was there a specific finding in the data that surprised you from this report?

AT: It was interesting to see that the percentage of breakfast intake among adolescents was more than 20 percentage points lower than younger children: 73% of adolescents aged 12-19 and 96% of children aged 2-5 years old consumed breakfast.

Q: How did you obtain this data for this report?

AT: We assessed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, in which survey participants were asked to report all foods and beverages they consumed in the previous 24 hours, from midnight to midnight. We looked at children and adolescents, aged 2-19 years who reported eating “breakfast” (or “desayuno”).

Q: Is there any trend data that goes back further than 2009-2010?

AT: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey has been collecting diet intake information since 1971, for almost 50 years. We focused on breakfast consumption in the past 10 years for this report.

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

AT: Overall, we found that from 2015 to 2018, 82% of children and adolescents consumed breakfast on a given day; breakfast consumption decreased with age and was higher among children & adolescents from families with higher incomes; a lower percentage of non-Hispanic black children and adolescents consumed breakfast; and that milk, cereal, and water were the most commonly reported foods or beverages. The percentage of children and adolescents who consumed breakfast did not change in the past 10 years.

Q: Is there data on lunch and dinner?

AT: Yes, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which is the source of the data, conducts a 24-hour dietary recall, by which we gather information on all foods and beverages consumed by the participant in the previous 24 hours. Diet intake data is available for researchers to assess which meals and snacks were reported, the time of the day for each meal or snack, and the foods and beverages that were consumed. For this data brief, we focused on breakfast consumption from 2015 to 2018.