As Obesity Rates Rise, Aurora Health Care Finds Weight Management Tops Aging Concerns in Wisconsin

September 21, 2015

MilwaukeeAurora Health Care's Quarterly Health of Wisconsin Report found that 31 percent of Wisconsin residents indicated weight management as their top concern as they age, supporting recent reports of rising obesity rates in the state, up from 11.8 percent of the adult population in 1990 to 29.8 percent in 2013.

Healthy aging is important to all ages, but especially older adults. By 2020, one in every four American workers will be over the age of 55, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. In Wisconsin, residents over the age of 65 are expected to double between 2010 and 2035 to some 1.49 million people, making the importance of maintaining healthy aging habits critical to both individual and community needs.

Maintaining a healthy weight can impact a variety of common health conditions affecting older workers, including hypertension and diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 44 percent of workers 55 and older suffer from hypertension. The same study found that one third of all Medicare spending goes towards diabetes treatment.

Staying Active is Key to Healthy Aging

To support healthy aging, the Aurora Quarterly Health of Wisconsin Report also found that Wisconsin residents do participate in some healthy aging activities, but wish they could do more.

Sixty two percent of Wisconsinites actively participate in cardiovascular exercise, according to Aurora's quarterly health study. Similarly, 59 percent of respondents say they eat healthy, and 57 percent see a doctor regularly.

"As people age, it becomes increasingly important that they take good care of their overall health," said Dr. Andy Anderson, chief medical officer with Aurora Health Care. "In Wisconsin, many people struggle with weight management issues and obesity, which can lead to long-term health concerns. It's critical as people age to do all they can to treat their body well with good exercise and nutrition, and to maintain an ongoing relationship with their physician and health care system."

Beyond weight management, additional top aging concerns from Wisconsinites include strong cognitive abilities (17%) and arthritis (16%), common concerns of aging adults. The CDC reports arthritis as the most common condition affecting older adults, with 47 percent of people over 55 suffering from the condition.

Challenges to Stay On Track

Healthy aging activities are high on the to-do lists for Wisconsinites, but for many, they remain challenging. When asked what their biggest roadblock is for not supporting healthy aging, nearly half of respondents to the Aurora report indicated lack of time (45%) as their top challenge. Additionally, lack of self-motivation (38%) was also high on the list.

To see related infographics, learn more about Quarterly Health of Wisconsin Report, or for additional study insights or previous studies, visit www.aurora.org/healthreport. The margin of error for the study is +/- 3.6 percent.

The Aurora Health Care Quarterly Health of Wisconsin Report is administered by Research Now, an independent third-party research firm. The poll measures the sentiments of some 1,500 adults ages 18 and older across Wisconsin and the United States on health-related topics.

About Aurora Health Care:
Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin-area health care provider and a national leader in efforts to improve health care quality. Aurora offers services at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Aurora is Wisconsin's most comprehensive health care provider and the state's largest private employer. Aurora serves more than 1.2 million patients every year via a comprehensive network of facilities, services and providers, including 15 hospitals, 159 clinics, 70 pharmacies and 30,000 amazing caregivers. As evidenced by more than 400 active clinical trials, Aurora is dedicated to delivering innovations to provide the best possible care today, and to define the best care for tomorrow. Get helpful health and wellness information via the Aurora MyHealth blog, our Facebook page, our Twitter account and our Pinterest account.

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Matt Braun
(414) 299-1547
matthew.braun@aurora.org
www.aurora.org/newsroom

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