Statistics: Facts about Health and Illness

Effects of Chronic Illness

More than 50% of Americans have some type of chronic illness, and these people account for 3/4 of national health care spending.
       --A Portrait of the Chronically Ill in America, a study of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Foundation for Accountability (2001).

Chronic illness touches nearly every American, either directly or through loved ones and friends.
       --Wu, Shin-Yi, and Green, Anthony, “Projection of Chronic Illness Prevalence and Cost Inflation,” RAND Corporation, October 2000.

Chronic diseases account for about 70% of all U.S. deaths and about 75% of health care costs each year.
      --Presentation given by Dr. James S. Marks, MD, MPH, Director of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion on January 13, 2003, from the Center for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/burden_pres

People with chronic illness report growing difficulty with affording health care.
      --A Portrait of the Chronically Ill in America, 2001, The Robert Wod Johnson Foundation, www.rwjf.org.

At least 16.5% of the population or 40.6 million people in the US (under age 65) are without health insurance (2002).
      -- Center for Disease Control, Health, United States, 2004, tables 129-131.

Medical debt is among the leading contributors to personal bankruptcy in the United States, affecting both the uninsured and the insured.
      --Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2005, viewed at www.rwjf.org on 10/12/05.

** Please note that the above statistics on illness generally only consider people who have major chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. These studies may not include “nuisance” symptoms such as recurrent headaches, chronic fatigue, insomnia, chronic gastro-intestinal problems, mild to moderate emotional or mental difficulties like depression or anxiety, undiagnosable conditions, and illnesses by people who don’t see doctors.

Causes of Chronic Illnesses

The main causes for increases in chronic diseases are people eating more foods which are high in fats and sugars, work and living situations becoming less active (and increased marketing of tobacco products to developing countries). Simple measures could be used to tackle these factors.
      --World Health Organization, reported by the BBC News, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4307472.stm, accessed 10/15/05

Chronic diseases are often preventable through proper health management, such as maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding smoking or excessive alcohol consumption. Once they develop, chronic illnesses represent ongoing conditions that require daily self-care and management, as well as coordination of and collaboration among health care providers.
       --Chronic Care Improvement: An ITAA E-health White Paper, May 2004

59% of adults do not engage in vigorous leisure-time physical activity.
      -- Center for Disease Control, Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2003, tables 26, 29.

Healing Chronic Symptoms

People with chronic illness:

       --A Portrait of the Chronically Ill in America, 2001, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, www.rwjf.org.

70% of the population have tried or are currently using alternative medicines (CAM).
       --American Demographics, January 2001.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine--that is, medicine as practiced by holders of M.D. (medical doctor) or D.O. (doctor of osteopathy) degrees and their allied health professionals, such as physical therapists, psychologists, and registered nurses.
       -- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States, from the National Center for Health Satistics Interview Survey, 2002.

Five reasons why people use CAM (survey):

Most people use CAM along with conventional medicine rather than in place of conventional medicine.
      -- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States, from the National Center for Health Statistics Interview Survey, 2002.

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Recapture Your Health by Walt Stoll, M.D. and Jan DeCourtney, C.M.T., (Sunrise Health Coach Publications, 2006)
Order at www.sunrisehealthcoach.com, 303-527-2886, or toll free at 1-877-3LS-WELL (1-877-357-9355)
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