Health care has become an issue of increasing political debate and national concern over the past few years. At the time of this report, health care reform is rapidly becoming a reality. Though there will continue to be arguments for and against the decisions reached by our nation’s leaders, the points of agreement lie in the fact that our nation is faced with a serious need for better health care for all our citizens.
Infants die in the U.S. at a rate of approximately 6 per 1,000 births, which ranks in the top five of developed countries.The Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is calculated as the number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births. Many argue that this is due to inadequate or lack of proper prenatal care.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that at least a third of all infant mortality in the United States is attributed to complications of prematurity;1 other studies assert that the figure is closer to half. With this information, it may be fair to state that infant mortality in the U.S. is principally a problem of premature birth, which is a complication of just over one in every 10 pregnancies.
Our expanding girth is America’s most visible health problem. Not only are most adults too heavy, but obesity rates for children have more than doubled in the past 30 years. Americans today are heavier and less active than at any point in history. Two thirds of adults are either overweight or obese, and fewer than one third exercise at least three times a week. Excess weight is a significant factor in four of the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Obesity has also fueled a 45% rise in diabetes over the past 20 years. A person born in 2000 has a 1 in 3 chance of developing the disease. According to the most recent data from the American Diabetes Association, 23.6 million people have diabetes mainly due to lifestyle, and an additional 57 million are pre-diabetic. At the same time, by 2010 nearly 46 million Americans, including 8 million children, lacked health insurance.