Current Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, 1995

For Release: Friday, October 30, 1998

Contact: NCHS Press Office (301) 458-4800


Series 10, No. 199. Current Estimates, 1995. 444 pp. (PHS) 98-1527. GPO stock number 017-022-01436-0 price: $34.00

The National Center for Health Statistics has issued the latest summary of findings from the National Health Interview Survey, a large-scale, annual survey on the health of the Nation. This report presents data on the incidence of acute conditions and injuries, prevalence of chronic disease, activity limitation, time lost from work or school due to illness, health status, number of physician contacts and hospitalizations in the civilian, non-institutionalized population. Highlights of the report include these findings:

  • Respiratory conditions were the most frequently reported acute condition in the 1995 survey, with influenza at a rate of 41 conditions per 100 persons easily outstripping the common cold, the second most frequent respiratory condition. Overall there were an estimated 174 acute conditions per 100 persons per year in 1995–similar to the 1994 rate.
  • The reported chronic conditions with the highest prevalence rates in 1995 were sinusitis, arthritis, deformity or orthopedic impairment, and hypertension–each affecting more than 10 percent of the population.
  • Acute and chronic conditions caused Americans to spend an average of 6 days in bed, to lose over 5.3 days from work, and to miss 4.5 days from school.
  • In 1995, some 37 percent of the population rated their health as excellent and almost 30 percent described their health as very good. Only 3 percent viewed their health as poor. However, this assessment varied somewhat by race and considerably by income, with blacks more likely to report poor health than whites and those in the lowest income group more than 7 times as likely to assess their health as poor than those with the highest income.
  • On average, Americans had almost 6 physician contacts–including visits to the doctor’s office, at the hospital, or by phone–for a total of more than a billion and a half physician contacts in 1995.
  • Six percent of the population had a hospital stay in 1995, while one percent had two hospital episodes and an even smaller percent were hospitalized 3 or more times.