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Healthy Aging Fact Sheet – 2012 Skip to content

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Healthy Aging Fact Sheet – 2012


More than 90 percent of older adults in the United States suffer from at least one chronic disease. The National Council on Aging produced this fact sheet to provide information on health issues facing older adults today, and to share some information about some of their programs to help older adults live healthier lives.

Key Points

This fact sheet provides detailed statistical information on the most prevalent barriers to healthy aging among seniors. Chronic disease, falls, and behavioral health issues are all common for older adults, and all negatively impact quality of life.

Other fact sheet highlights include:

  1. Four chronic diseases — heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke — cause nearly two-thirds of all deaths each year. Similarly, chronic diseases account for 75 percent of money spent on health care.
  2. The total direct cost of all fall injuries for people aged 65+ was more than $19 billion in 2000. Accounting for inflation and an aging population, estimates are for $54.9 billion by 2020.
  3. More than 12 million Americans over the age of 60 suffer from diabetes, while 57 million more have pre-diabetes, a condition that increases a person’s risk of Type 2 diabetes. However, studies show that lifestyle intervention can reduce risk by 71 percent.
  4. One in four older adults experiences a mental disorder of some sort, although two-thirds do not receive the treatment they need.

How to Use

With a rapidly aging population, the major health concerns of America’s older adults are becoming increasingly prevalent public issues. Reviewing this fact sheet allows local officials to understand the issues facing the older population, and to consider adding programs and services to address the top health issues. In addition, planners can visit NCOA’s FallFree Initiative.

View full report: Healthy Aging Fact Sheet – 2012 (PDF – 121 KB)

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