Epidemiologists love to crunch numbers — and Americans, on the whole, love to ignore them. Even the most health-conscious among us soon grow numb to the storm of statistics warning us about rising levels of obesity or falling levels of exercise or all the other numerical indicators that tell us how unwell we're getting. But on Sept. 14, a team of researchers released a new finding that should cause even the most data-weary folks alarm.
According to a paper published Monday in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, fewer than 8% of all Americans can now be considered at low risk for heart disease. No one needs a statistician's help to know that that means more than 92% of us are not as healthy as we could be, and that's worth paying attention to.
The real problems are blood pressure, obesity and diabetes, all of which are relentlessly on the rise…"As these children grow up, I expect to see a decrease in the number of people who qualify as low risk," says Dr. Seema Kumar, a pediatric endocrinologist and medical director of the Weight Management Program for Children at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. "Our obese children are at high risk of becoming obese adults; some of them are already developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes."
Time by Jeffrey Kluger, 09/14/09