Epidemics of chronic disease — the statistics

According to the recent annual report produced by the Alzheimer’s Association, one in eight Americans has Alzheimer’s disease. Someone new develops the disease every 70 seconds. Without a major medical breakthrough in prevention or treatment, the association states that by the year 2050 someone will develop the disease every 33 seconds.

Two-thirds of American adults are overweight, and one-third is outright obese.

In Arizona, an estimated 97,000 people have Alzheimer’s. Nationally, it is the seventh-leading cause of death and has created 10.9 million unpaid caregivers. With a rapidly aging baby boomer population, Alzheimer’s will continue to impact more lives. From 2000 to 2006, deaths from Alzheimer’s disease increased 46.1 percent.

The top three deadly chronic diseases in America are heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Chronic diseases are responsible for seven out of 10 deaths annually and account for 75 percent of the nation’s health care spending, according to the Health and Human Services Department.

More than 50 percent of children will suffer from chronic health diseases, ranging from ADHD and asthma to obesity and diabetes, according to a study published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Two-thirds of American adults are overweight, and one-third is outright obese. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts that one in three children born in 2000 will develop type 2 diabetes.

Last summer, the CDC began to track the states’ health department data about tobacco control, diabetes prevention and control, healthy communities and surveillance of state-based behavioral risk factors in all states and territories. The new system standardizes the reporting methods and will generate reports that allow each state to coordinate and account for its activities and status in its efforts to prevent or control chronic diseases. The CDC will use the information to scrutinize each program’s progress and use of federal funds, and to identify strengths and weaknesses.

Although the CDC says obesity, diabetes and heart disease are all preventable, no programs have been announced to improve the American diet. In fact, the American Heart Association and others still inexplicably promote vegetable oils, which studies show have an inflammatory effect on the body.


Sources: 2010 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, CDC and JAMA, February 17, 2010.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 29, Number 6, Dec 2010/Jan 2011.

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