Half of Americans aged 55-64 have high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, according to a new annual report on health in the United States issued today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC).
The report concludes that 40 precent of people in that age bracket are obese.
The report features an in-depth look at the 55-64 age group, which includes the oldest of the Baby Boomers. In 2011, the oldest of the boomers will be eligible for Medicare, and by 2014, the ranks of Americans ages 55-64 will swell to 40 million, up from 29 million in 2004.
"Controlling high blood pressure and obesity is crucial for health, and particularly for Baby Boomers as they grow older," said Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt. "It's time to act against both conditions so more Americans can live longer, healthier lives."
CDC Director Julie Gerberding urged people 55 to 64 to take stock now of their health, including such vital measures as weight, cholesterol level, blood pressure, risk of heart attack and any signs of diabetes.