NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 12, 2005

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that baby boomers who about to retire are suffering from some significant medical ailments.

The report focused on the 55 to 64 age group, which includes the oldest of the baby boomers. The researchers find that:

  • Half of Americans aged 55 to 64 have high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
  • Nearly 40 percent of people in that age bracket are obese.
  • These rates of obesity and high blood pressure are higher than the previous generation's rates at the same age.

Obesity and high blood pressure usually cause more serious health ailments in the future. In 2011, the oldest of the boomers will be eligible for Medicare and by 2014; the ranks of Americans aged 55-64 will swell to 40 million, up from 29 million in 2004. Consequently, a significant portion of the soon-to-be on Medicare may require significantly more health care than the previous generation.

The researchers also measure the cost of healthcare:

  • The United States spent $1.7 trillion, or 15 percent of the gross domestic product, on health care in 2003.
  • This represents $5,671 for every man, woman, and child.
  • Prescription drugs were the fastest-growing expenditure -- spending on prescriptions rose 11 percent in 2003.

Source: Mike Stobbe, "U.S. Life Expectancy Hits All-Time High," Associated Press, December 8, 2005; based upon: "Health, United States, 2005: With Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans with Special Feature on Adults 55-64 Years," National Center for Health Statistics, December 2005.

For report:


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