Health Highlights: Sept. 19, 2007

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:

Most U.S. Marriages Don't Last 25 Years

For the first time since World War II, America's married couples are more likely to have split by the 25-year mark than to have stayed together, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows.

As reported in The New York Times, more than half of people who might have celebrated a 25th wedding anniversary in the year 2000 either found themselves divorced, separated or widowed instead, the government data found.

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Part of that may have to do with the fact that Americans are now more likely to wed later in life. In their mid-20s, most men (54 percent) and 41 percent of women have not yet tied the knot, the census found.

However, more Americans are marrying more than once during their lifetime -- in 1996, 69 percent of men and 76 percent of women over the age of 15 had been married only once, but those numbers dropped to 54 percent and 58 percent, respectively, by the latest census.

The divorce rate has remained constant over the past decade, at about one in every five people surveyed. "Basically, it looks like we're pretty much holding steady," Rose Kreieder, a Census Bureau demographer, told the Times.

Other statistics:

  • Older baby boomers were most likely to have been through a divorce -- 38 percent of males in their 50s were divorced, as were 41 percent of females.
  • The "seven-year-itch" is alive and well: Couples who separate tend to do so seven years into a marriage.
  • People who remarry typically do so about 3.5 years after their last marriage ended. Second marriages that end in divorce typically fizzle after about 9 years for men and a little more than 7 years for women.
  • In 2004, 12 percent of American men and 13 percent of American women had been married twice. Three percent of Americans of either gender have exchanged rings three or more times, the statistics show.


U.S. Hospital Admissions for Kids with Cancer Surge

Between 2000 and 2005, there was a more than 80 percent increase (from about 54,000 to 100,000) in the number of annual U.S. hospital admissions for cancer patients age 18 and younger, says the latest News and Numbers from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

A dramatic improvement in survival rates of children with cancer was partly responsible for this increase, said the report. It also found that in 2005:

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