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Annual Report on Nation's Health Spotlights Elderly Americans

Katherine M. Bennett

Within the next 30 years, one out of every five Americans will be over the age of 65—a fact that should serve as a wake-up call both to Congress in its continuing deliberations over the future of Medicare and the health care profession, according to a new Health and Human Services Administration report. "Health, United States, 1999," produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), highlights the health implications of longer life expectancies. A significant and long-term decline in mortality, especially from heart disease, is a tribute to better and earlier medical intervention, according to the report. Arthritis, hypertension, and diabetes are the most common ailments of noninstitutionalized seniors over the age of 70. Copies of the report can be downloaded from the NCHS Web site at