Entries in americans (11)


Americans Who Cook More Exercise Less

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- According to a new study, Americans who cook more frequently also exercise less.

The study, presented at a Population Association of America Meeting, found that for every ten additional minutes that the average American spends preparing food, that person was less likely to spend ten extra minutes exercising each day. The researchers in the study speculate that one reason their findings may be true is due to a lack of free time -- the average American spends less than 60 minutes combined on exercise and food preparation each day.

The study looked at one day's worth of data from more than 100,000 adults. The study suggests that instead of simply being told to eat better and exercise, Americans should be advised on time management for healthy behaviors.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Snacking Is the Real American Pastime

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Americans love their snacks so much so that about half of them enjoy them outside their regular meals at least twice a day.

That’s according to a survey conducted by market research firms Technomic, Packaged Facts and SymphonyIRI.

As for where Americans like to have their snacks, 70 percent of consumers prefer munching goodies at home, but there are signs that more people are sneaking snacks at work.

Mid-afternoon snacking seems to be most popular with 75 percent of Americans, while four in 10 admit they also like their favorite treats during the morning, evening and late night.

The highest-grossing snacks last year might surprise you: trail mix and hummus, with sales up 11.1 percent and 10.5 percent, respectively.

Snacks apparently don’t necessarily have to be food, according to the survey: three in 10 snacks consumed in 2011 were beverages.

Fifty percent of consumers say they eat snacks to provide them with an energy boost, while two-thirds of women are also careful not to eat portions that they consider too large.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Survey: 1 in 10 Americans Use Antidepressants

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- According to new survey data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 10 Americans older than 12 are now taking antidepressants -- a fourfold increase in the prevalence of antidepressant use since the late 1980s.

While antidepressant use is on the rise, it's not always mental health professionals that are writing the prescription: less than one third of patients on antidepressants reported seeing a mental health professional within the past year.

The report, published Wednesday, draws on a survey of over 12,000 Americans over the age of 12. Twenty-three percent of all women ages 40 to 59 reported taking antidepressants.

While the idea of primary doctors handing out antidepressants without a therapist's consultation may seem alarming, many psychiatrists felt that screening for and treating depression in your doctor's office was a necessary expansion of a PCP's duties.

"The reality is that there are not enough mental health care providers around to treat all who need it," says Dr. Gary Small, a psychiatrist and director of the UCLA Center on Aging. "Part of what we do as psychiatrists is teach doctors how to diagnose and treat depression so that a lot of depression can be handled in primary care."

"It's a required part of training in our specialty [to treat depression]," says Dr. Lee Green, professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan. "We refer patients with the most complex or treatment-resistant depression to psychiatrists for medication management, but that is only a minority of people with depression. Most patients can, and should, get their antidepressant prescription from their family doctor," he says.

This doesn't mean that seeing a mental health care worker isn't necessary as well, however, Green says: "The concern I have with the low number of people seeing mental health professionals is that they're not getting the psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, that we know helps with depression. Personally, I don't believe anyone should be treated with medication alone for depression."

Dr. Sudeepta Varma, a psychiatrist at NYU Langone Medical Center and member of the American Psychiatric Association's Public Affairs Committee for New York County, was also worried that patients might not be getting treated "optimally" with the best dosage of their meds if they never see a psychiatrist.

"People often come in to me having been prescribed antidepressants from their doctor and they're on the lowest dose, wondering why it isn't working for them," she says. "Primary doctors should really work in consultation with a psychiatrist."

Overall, doctors and mental health care professionals weren't alarmed by the rising number of antidepressant prescriptions being written –- to the contrary, some questioned whether more patients should be on medication.

The survey captured how many patients are on antidepressants, not necessarily how many patients are being treated for depression with antidepressants. Because antidepressants are also prescribed for anxiety, neurological pain, fibromyalgia, sleep problems, and menopausal hot flashes, some of those reporting being on antidepressants may have been medicated for those reasons, not for depression, says Dr. John Messmer, associate professor of Family and Community Medicine at Penn State College of Medicine.

"I think it's a good thing that one in ten people in the U.S. are on antidepressants," says Dr. Varma at NYU. "It's really hard to convince people to be on medication -- it's not something that people do lightly. I think the fact that more people are on medication means that more people are becoming aware of the signs of depression and that there is less stigma about seeking help," she says.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


More Americans in Their 50s Facing Hunger

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LEXINGTON, Ky.) -- Nancy and Randal Watkins say they were just like most middle-class couples in their early 50s.

The Lexington, Ky., couple made sure that every bill was paid on time. Then last year, Randal Watkins got sick and soon after his wife got sick. They eventually lost their jobs.

Now they can barely put food on the table.

According to an AARP report on hunger released Tuesday, nearly 9 million Americans in their 50s are more likely to be hungry than people in their 60s and 70s. When the 50-year old Americans become food insecure, they become twice as likely to become diabetic and five times more likely to suffer from depression.

"These are folks suffering from the recession and the economic declines in this country," Jo Ann Jenkins, president of the AARP Foundation, said. "Some of them have just recently lost jobs."

"Sometimes you don't want to get up," Nancy Watkins told ABC News through tears. "You think today will be better. So I'm thinking 'Lord, let me feel better.' Yea, every day that I get up."

The Watkinses use all kinds of tricks to make their food last. They eat food that's gone bad and eat cereal without milk.

"Sometimes there's not a lot of milk but you compromise," Nancy Watkins said. "You can use water."

They make too much from disability to get food stamps but the couple doesn't make enough to pay their bills. They owe $25,000 to a Kentucky hospital.

The Watkinses say they have to remain positive.

"Always remember that you're blessed regardless," Nancy Watkins said. "There's somebody out there worse off than you."

If you would like to donate money to help those in need of food, there are several ways. Feeding America will help provide food to an estimated 14 million children this year. The organization says that for $45, it can feed a family of four for a month. You can also make a food donation to your local food pantry.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Number of Americans Suffering with Gout Is on the Rise

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Gout, a type of inflammatory arthritis that is caused by the formation of uric acid crystals in the joints, causing pain and swelling, appears to be on the rise, according to a new study published Thursday in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

By comparing data from two national surveys -- one from 1988-1994 and the other from 2007-2008, researchers at Boston University School of Medicine found that about 4 percent of the U.S. population, or some 8.3 million adults, now suffer from gout, with the condition being more common in men than in women.

This latest rate is a 1.2 percent increase from 20 years ago.

The authors of the study also found that this rise in gout rates is linked to the rise in obesity and hypertension among U.S. adults, and so they conclude that “improvements in managing modifiable risk factors, such as obesity and hypertension, could help prevent further escalation of gout...among Americans.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Report: Gay Americans Make Up Four Percent of Population

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- An estimated nine million Americans -- or nearly four percent of the total population -- say they identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, according to a new report released this week from the Williams Institute, a think tank devoted to LGBT research at UCLA.

Bisexuals make up slightly more than half that group -- 1.8 percent of the total U.S. population -- and they are substantially more likely to be women than men.

The report is the most up-to-date assessment of that population and produced a lower population percentage than the 10 percent number that advocacy groups have used in the past, which was based on Alfred Kinsey studies from 1948.

The new data comes on the heels of another recent report published by the Institute of Medicine for the National Institutes of Health emphasizing the need for more federally funded research on LGBT health problems.

"Sexual orientation is complex, but measurable," said Gary J. Gates, chief researcher and a Williams Distinguished Scholar.  "Hopefully, this will begin to prompt some dialogue on what it means when we say LGBT."

Other key findings were that an estimated 19 million Americans, or 8.2 percent of the population, said they have engaged in same-sex behavior, and 25.6 million, or 11 percent, acknowledged some same-sex attraction.

Gay advocacy groups are hailing the report as a critical first step to inform public policy, research and federal funding.  They say the information is crucial in identifying health and economic disparities, discrimination, domestic partnership benefits and the impact of same-sex marriage.

The report was based on a collection of previous surveys in the United States and around the world.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Survey: Are Americans Feeling Healthy?

Jim Arbogast/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- Too many of us are overweight or obese, we’re not exercising enough, we’re still smoking and Alzheimer’s disease is rising. So how are we feeling about our health as a nation? Pretty good, actually. 

A survey by the National Center for Health Statistics on Americans’ general health assesses 15 health measures, such as health insurance coverage, rates of flu and pneumococcal vaccinations, obesity, smoking, diabetes, asthma and others.  Americans are also asked to rate their own general health as excellent, very good, good, fair and poor. 

Although the percentage of people who rated their health as excellent or very good decreased slightly from 69 percent to 66 percent from 1997 to 2010, some 90 percent of Americans still rate their health as good or better.  This positive self-assessment is particularly interesting if one considers that some measures of health have been decreasing.

For example, the percentage of people who failed to obtain medical coverage due to cost in the past 12 months increased from 4.5 percent in 1997 to seven percent in 2010.  Cases of obesity and diabetes increased from 19.5 percent to 28.2 percent and 5.3 percent to 8.4 percent, respectively.
Other changes are more positive.  Rates of flu and pneumococcal vaccinations also increased significantly, along with HIV testing.

The report also showed that smoking has decreased.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Researchers: Americans Are Sicker Than People in the UK

Comstock/Thinkstock(PRINCETON, N.J.) -- A Princeton University study finds that despite spending more on healthcare in the United States compared to England, Americans experience higher rates of chronic disease across all age groups.

The study compared health indicators in the U.S. and England from childhood through old age for conditions such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol levels. Americans had higher rates for most chronic diseases.

The authors conclude that Americans are at a health disadvantage compared to the English. One reason for this difference may be that the health care system in United Kingdom is targeted towards preventive health care compared to American health care.

But critics of the study found some problems. They say that the researchers did not compare the same years, and the samples sizes were different.

The study is published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New CDC Report Says Many Americans Get No Exercise

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- Exercise is key to good health and an essential tool in the fight against obesity, but new numbers suggest that many Americans don't get any physical activity at all.

In a checkup of the nation's health, the CDC found that fewer than two in 10 Americans get the recommended levels of exercise, and more than a quarter of U.S. adults do not devote any time to physical activity. The findings were published Tuesday in the agency's annual report on health statistics.

Regionally, the problems are even more pronounced. Inactivity runs rampant across the U.S. South and Appalachia, where nearly 30 percent of people reported that they do not get any physical exercise -- not even light activities such as golfing or gardening.

"That's probably even an underestimate of the real problem," said Dr. Antronette Yancey, a professor at UCLA who serves on a board that supports first lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign. Yancey said that in self-reported data, participants often vastly overstate their actual activity.

In Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee, inactivity rates are at least 29.2 percent in more than 70 percent of counties. These states also have some of the highest levels of health problems, such as diabetes and obesity.

Federal guidelines call for 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every week, including two days of full-body strengthening.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Americans Optimistic about Nation's Health Care

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PRINCETON, NJ) -- Public opinion on health care quality and coverage in the US is more positive now than it has been for the past decade.

This is according to the latest Gallup Health and Healthcare poll. The poll found that 62-percent of Americans rate the quality of the nation’s health care as excellent or good. This percentage is five points higher than last year’s figure.

The opinion on health care coverage wasn’t quite as positive, with the poll’s results showing that only 39-percent of Americans rated coverage as excellent or good. This figure stands at just one percentage point higher than last year’s figure.

These figures are the highest ever recorded since Gallup began conducting the poll in 2001.

The poll also found that only 23-percent of Americans are satisfied with the cost of health care in the nation.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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