Key Health Measures Tracked in National Survey

Contact: NCHS/CDC Public Affairs, (301) 458-4800


Early Release of Selected Estimates from the 2000 and Early 2001 National Health Interview Surveys (9/20/01)

The Early Release Program of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), a household interview survey conducted annually by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, provides access to the latest data on key national health indicators. In this second early release, data from 1997 through the first quarter of 2001 are now available electronically. The indicators included are: lack of health insurance coverage, influenza vaccination, pneumococcal vaccination, obesity, leisure time physical activity, health status, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, HIV testing, having a usual source of medical care, and failing to obtain needed medical care.

The “Second Early Release of Health Indicator Data from the 2000 and Early 2001 NHIS” can be viewed or downloaded from the CDC website. CDC plans to periodically release updated findings on these and additional indicators on the Internet to track important health measures. Findings for January – March 2001 should be considered preliminary.

Highlights of the findings:

  • The percent of children under age 18 years who lacked health insurance coverage decreased from 13.9 percent in 1997 to 11.5 in the first quarter of 2001.
  • The survey shows that the percent of adults who received influenza vaccine in the past year has climbed steadily in the past few years, but dropped in the last quarter of 2000–reflecting the delay in the availability of vaccine for the 2000-2001 flu season.
  • For those aged 65 years and over, the percent who had ever received a pneumococcal vaccination also increased from 1997 to 2000. As with influenza vaccinations, non-Hispanic white people were more likely to have ever received vaccinations than non-Hispanic black and Hispanic groups.
  • In early 2001, 15 percent of U.S. adults reported regularly participating in light or moderate leisure time physical activity.
  • The prevalence of self-reported obesity among U.S. adults has increased over time from 19.4 percent in 1997 to 22.4 percent in early 2001.
  • About 2 percent of Americans classify their health as poor.
  • In early 2001, 22.3 percent of adults were current smokers, indicating a continuous decline in smoking.
  • About 1 in 10 American adults (ages 18-64 years) consumed alcohol excessively. For both men and women, younger adults were more likely to drink excessively than older adults.
  • The percent of adults who have a usual source of medical care remained relatively constant at about 85 percent from 1997 thru early 2001. During this same time period, about 93 percent of children had a usual source of care.
  • In early 2001, 4.8 percent of the population–up slightly over the past 4 years–was unable to obtain needed medical care in the past year due to financial barriers.

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