Obesity, housing costs threaten longevity

Aug. 16, 2012 at 11:56 PM
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BETHESDA, Md., Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Older U.S. adults live longer than previous generations did but high housing costs and rising obesity may compromise these gains for some, officials say.

Older Americans 2012: Key Indicators of Well-Being -- a report by the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics -- tracked trends to see how older people are faring as the U.S. population grows older, and found more older women were in the work force, fewer seniors were in poverty, housing was more expensive and more older Americans were obese.

In 1963, 29 percent of women ages 62-64 worked outside the home; in 2011, that increased to 45 percent. In 1963, 17 percent of women ages 65-69 were in the labor force; in 2011, that increased to 27 percent.

Between 1974 and 2010, the proportion of older adults with income below the poverty threshold -- less than $10,458 in 2010 for a person 65 and older fell -- from 15 percent to 9 percent.

The cost of housing has increased steadily. In 1985, about 30 percent of households with householders or spouses age 65 and older spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing and utilities. By 2009, the proportion of older people with such a housing cost burden reached 40 percent, the report said.

Obesity, which increases risk of several diseases, is increasing among older people. In 2009 to 2010, 38 percent of people age 65 and older were obese, compared with 22 percent in 1988 to 1994. In 2009 to 2010, 44 percent of people age 65-74 were obese, as were 29 percent of those age 75 and older, the report said.

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