Americans are living longer and spending more on health, but they suffer from more chronic illnesses, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Average life expectancy reached 77.2 years in 2001, up almost four months from 2000 and nearly two years since 1990, says "Health, United States, 2003," the 27th annual report on the country's health.
Healthcare spending reached $1.4 trillion, an increase of 8.7% from 2000, the report says. Health expenditures reached 14.1% of the gross domestic product in 2001, a higher percentage than that of any other industrialized country.
Hospital care accounted for 32% of healthcare spending in 2001, with physicians services accounting for 22%, prescription drugs 10% and nursing home care 7%.
The major sources of funding for physician services came from private insurance (48%) and Medicare (20%).
Even though people overall are living longer and disparity gaps are narrowing, gender, racial and ethnic differences in life expectancy persist, the report says. The average life expectancy for women was 79.8 years, 74.4 years for men. In 1990, whites lived seven years longer than blacks. In 2001, whites lived five and a half years longer.
A special section of the report on diabetes says 6.5% of adults were diagnosed with diabetes compared with 5.1% in 1997, and visits to physician offices and hospitals for diabetes have increased. Some 22% of people age 45 and older who were admitted to the hospital in 2001 were diabetic.