Americans are living longer than before but their life expectancies are still shorter than other countries, a government report revealed.
For instance, Japanese men and women were found on average to live longer than American men and women. Researchers found that a 65-year-old Japanese woman could expect to live 3.7 years longer than an American woman of the same age, and a 65-year-old Japanese man could expect to live 1.3 years longer than U.S. men, according to the report released Thursday by the National Institute on Aging.
The new report "Older Americans 2012: Key Indicators of Well-Being," monitors trends in people older than 65 in categories like health, housing, behaviors and economics.
Researchers reported that obesity rates have continued to rise and that the condition is still a major cause of premature death in older people. Researchers found that 38 percent of people 65 and older were obese between 2009 and 2010 compared to 22 percent between 1988 and 1995.
Results from the report showed that while death rates for heart disease and stroke fell by nearly 50 percent since 1981, death rates from chronic lower respiratory disease went up by 57 percent.
The report found that while the use of hospice care in the final 30 days of life jumped to 43 percent in 2009 from 19 percent in 1999, 24 percent of older people in 2009 compared to 15 percent in 1999 are dying at home rather than hospitals.
More women have arthritis than men with 56 percent of women reporting the condition compared to 45 percent of men. However, men reported higher levels of heart disease, with 37 percent reporting the condition compared to 26 percent of women.
Researchers also found that more Americans who were 65 and older are enrolling in health maintenance organizations and other Medicare Advantage plans with 28 percent of Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in an MA program in 2009 compared to 16 percent in 2005.
Americans 65 and older also spend more money out-of-pocket on health care with spending among the poor and near-poor elderly jumping from 12 percent three decades ago to 22 percent of income in 2009.