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Facts, projections, and gaps concerning data on aging.
  • Published Date:
    1984 Sep-Oct
  • Source:
    Public Health Rep. 99(5):468-475
  • Language:
Filetype[PDF-2.50 MB]

  • Alternative Title:
    Public Health Rep
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  • Description:
    In 1900, approximately 25 percent of all deaths occurred in people 65 years of age and over, while today the age at death has been pushed back so that, by 1980, 30 percent of deaths occurred in those over age 80. The greatest declines in age-specific mortality for those 65 and over occurred from 1920 to 1945 and since 1970. Illness and disability rise with age, and there is some evidence that rates of disability in all age groups may be increasing. Measurement of morbidity and disability is the area where data are weakest and our needs for data are perhaps greatest. Agreement is needed on the use, limitations, and interpretations of surveys and of data relating to functional status. In a few years, medical students and physicians will be computer literate. We should plan now for a better utilization of the already available Federal data sets as well as implementation of computerized health care information on individual patients. Some modifications of privacy legislation will probably be necessary in order for physicians to give better care to their patients, and to provide epidemiologic research opportunities in critical areas of public health needs. Caution is urged in order to maintain credibility in health promotion by avoiding overstatement of knowledge in areas where scientific evidence is weak or lacking. Better utilization and development of epidemiologic and statistical information as well as basic research in chronic diseases are urged to prepare for the year 2025, when there will be some 60 million Americans age 65 and over--about 20 percent of the total population.

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