CDC Report: Americans Feel Healthy

Despite rising obesity and diabetes, Americans rate health as "good" or better.

ByABC News
March 23, 2011, 8:28 AM

March 23, 2011— -- Despite rising rates of obesity and diabetes, 90 percent of Americans still rate their health as "good" or better, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and the National Center for Health Statistics.

The report details the results of a national survey that probed 15 health indicators including obesity, diabetes, smoking, vaccinations and insurance coverage. Responders also rated their overall health as excellent, very good, good, fair or poor.

Although the percentage of people who rated their health as excellent or very good decreased from 69 in 1997 to 66 in 2010, the proportion of Americans who rate their health as good or better is surprisingly high given the nine-point boost in obesity to 28.2 percent and the three-point rise in diabetes to 8.4 percent.

"I think it just demonstrates the challenges we face in making people aware at the difference between how they feel right now and what their health risks are," said Dr. Jim Jirjis, director of the Adult PrimaryCare Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.

Jirjis said health care providers would not rate an obese person's health as good because of the increased risk for other conditions like heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

"Just because you're not in the middle of an acute health complication doesn't mean your health is good."

Dr. Albert Levy, assistant professor of medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, said multiple factors play into a person's subjective view of his health -- factors no less important than weight and blood sugar levels.

"The doctor may see measures of unhealthiness, like weight and blood sugar. But good health is not only physical; it's psychological and emotional. It depends on family, work, economics, spirituality."

Levy cautioned that the increase in rates of obesity and diabetes may also be a result of better detection, which is a good thing.