Key takeaways from CDC's 2018 U.S. health report

New data from the 2018 U.S. Health report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics depict a grim outlook for the U.S., with exorbitant healthcare spending and increased rates of drug overdose deaths, vaping use, obesity and prescription drug use. However, a decline in teen birth rates, cigarette use and infant mortality rates provide silver linings.   

Drug overdose mortality

  • The death rate for drug overdoses increased 82 percent from 2007 to 2017, a jump from 11.9 to 21.7 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • Drug overdose death rates were higher among males than females for all ages except those 65 and over.

Vaping and tobacco use

  • 1.5 percent of students grades 9-12 used e-cigarettes in 2011, compared to 20.8 percent in 2018. 
  • In 2017, 14.1 percent of adults smoked cigarettes, a decline from 19.7 percent in 2007. 


  • From 1999-2000 to 2015-16, obesity among women increased by 7.9 percent (41.2 percent of women are obese) and obesity among men increased by 10.7 percent (38.1 percent).

Prescription Drugs

  • Eleven percent of Americans in 2016 said they took five or more prescriptions within 30 days, nearly twice the rate in 1999-2000 (6.5 percent). 

Teen birth rates

  • The birth rate for teens ages 15-19 years fell by more than half from 2007 to 2017, from 41.5 to 18.8 births per 1,000 teens — a record low for the U.S. 

Infant Mortality

  • In 2017, the infant mortality rate was 14 percent less than 2007, at 5.79 deaths per 1,000 births.
  • However, rates vastly differ due to race/ethnicity. The infant mortality rate was 170 percent higher among infants of non-Hispanic black women than of non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander women. 


  • In 2017, the all-cause death rate among males and females was 6 percent lower than 2007. 
  • The leading causes of death were heart disease, cancer and unintentional injuries.  

Healthcare expenditures

  • Expenditures added up to nearly $3 trillion in 2017, a 3.8 percent increase from 2016.
  • Spending on hospital care, physician/clinical services and prescription drugs accounted for almost 75 percent of the total $2.96 billion personal healthcare expenditures.

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