Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Government Publications You Should Know

Health, United States, 2008 with Special Feature on the Health of Young Adults.

From the preface:
"Health, United States, 2008 is the 32nd report on the health status of the Nation and is submitted by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to the President and the Congress of the United States in compliance with Section 308 of the Public Health Service Act. This report was compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics served in a review capacity.

The Health, United States series presents national trends in health statistics. Each report includes an executive summary, highlights, a chartbook, trend tables, extensive appendixes, and an index.

The 2008 Chartbook includes 41 charts and introduces this year’s special feature on young adults, a group making many life choices including decisions about education, marriage, childbearing, and health behaviors such as tobacco and alcohol use, which will affect both their future economic and health status as well as that of their families. The chartbook assesses the Nation’s health by presenting trends and current information on selected determinants and measures of health status and utilization of health care. Many measures are shown separately for persons of different ages because of the strong effect of age on health. Selected figures also highlight differences in determinants and measures of health status and utilization of health care by such characteristics as sex, race, Hispanic origin, education, and poverty level.

Trend Tables
The chartbook section is followed by 151 trend tables organized around four major subject areas: health status and determinants, health care utilization, health care resources, and health care expenditures. A major criterion used in selecting the trend tables is availability of comparable national data over a period of several years. The tables present data for selected years to highlight major trends in health statistics. Earlier editions of Health, United States may present data for additional years that are not included in the current printed report. Where possible, these additional years of data are available in Excel spreadsheet files on the Health, United States website. Tables with additional data years are listed in Appendix III.

Racial and Ethnic Data
Many tables in Health, United States present data according to race and Hispanic origin consistent with Department-wide emphasis on expanding racial and ethnic detail when presenting health data. Trend data on race and ethnicity are presented in the greatest detail possible after taking into account the quality of data, the amount of missing data, and the number of observations. Standards for classification of federal data on race and ethnicity are described in detail by data system in Appendix II, Race.

Education and Income Data
Many tables in Health, United States present data according to socioeconomic status, using education and family income as proxy measures. Education and income data are generally obtained directly from survey respondents and are not generally available from records-based data collection systems. State vital statistics systems currently report mother’s education on the birth certificate and, based on an informant, decedent’s education on the death certificate. See Appendix II, Education; Family income; and Poverty.

Disability Data
Disability is a complex concept and can include presence of physical or mental impairments that limit a person’s ability to perform an important activity and affect the use of or need for supports, accommodations or interventions required to improve functioning. Information on disability in the U.S. population is critical to health planning and policy. Although some information is currently available from federal data collection systems, the information is limited by lack of standard definitions and survey questions on disability. Several current initiatives are underway to coordinate and standardize measurement of disability across federal data systems. Until such standardized information is available, Health, United States includes the following disability-related information for the civilian noninstitutionalized population: prevalence of limitations of activity due to chronic conditions (Table 58), vision and hearing limitations for adults (Table 59), and limitations in Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) for the population age 65 and over (Table 58). In addition, disability-related information is provided for Medicare enrollees (Table 144), Medicaid recipients (Table 145), and veterans with service-connected disabilities (Table 147).

For more information on disability statistics see: Altman B, Bernstein A. Disability and health in the United States, 2001–2005. Hyattsville, MD: NCHS. 2008. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/misc/disability2001–2005.pdf."

We have the paper going back to at least 1999, and the CDC website has editions back to 1975 in pdf.

If you have someone looking for detailed U.S. health information, you should check this source.

Melissa @ Central.

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