Chronic Disease Facts

The national burden of chronic disease remains large in scale, in both health and economic terms. In 2005, 133 million Americans – almost one out of every two adults – had at least one chronic illness. By 2009–2010, 21 percent of adults aged 45–64 and 45 percent of adults aged 65 and over had been diagnosed with two or more chronic conditions.

Chronic diseases account for more than 75 percent of the over $2.5 trillion dollars spent on health care in the United States each year. Average health care costs for people with at least one chronic disease are 2.5 times higher than for people with no chronic conditions. This burden is expected to grow as our population ages; every day 10,000 baby-boomers turn 65.

While chronic diseases are the most common and costly health problems facing the nation, they are also largely preventable when individuals and communities choose to adapt healthy lifestyles through proper nutrition, increased opportunities to be physically active, and avoiding tobacco use.

To learn more about how Alabama compares to national average when examining chronic diseases and associated risk factors, view Public Health Indicators.

Page last updated: April 10, 2017