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HCA 240 Disease Trends and the Delivery of Health Care Services

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Disease Trends and the Delivery of Health Care Services
HCA 240
Demographics and disease trends will influence health care delivery services in the future
in many different ways. Not only will the current aging population affect the delivery of health

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care services because of its rapid growth, but also obesity. Obesity is one of the more serious
problems facing our nation today, and will only get worse unless the implementation of programs
to educate the public on the many health issues this condition can cause to prevent them from
happening. Moreover, not only does the health care delivery system need to adapt in the future to
provide quality care for the aging population and the many chronic health issues they will face
along with affordable housing, but also obesity-related health issues as our nation faces these two
serious problems.
In 2010, the age composition of the United States consisted of 60 percent of the
population between the ages of 20 to 64 (Vincent & Velkoff, 2010). However, over the next 10 to
20 years the United States will experience an increase in the number of its older population
because the baby boom generation started crossing into this category in January 2011 when the
first baby boomers born in 1946 began reaching retirement age (Vincent & Velkoff, 2010). The
Baby Boom generation consists of approximately 78 million Americans born between 1946 and
1964 in the two decades following the end of World War II when there was a massive increase in
not only the United States, but also the world's population (CDC, 2003). According to Jacobsen,
Kent, Lee, & Mather (2011), in 2011, about 40 million people in the United States were ages 65
and older, and this number is expected to double to 89 million by the year 2050.
Some of the factors that support this trend are the changing demographics trends of our
current population in regards to the configuration of age and gender. Jacobsen, Kent, Lee, &
Mather (2011) stated, “Since women live longer than men in the United States, women will
continue to make up a majority of the older population in the foreseeable future” (pg. 3).
Whereas, this age distribution among men and women are expected to remain approximately the
same between 2009 and 2030, there will be notable changes in the age and gender gap by 2050

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as the gap grows smaller (Jacobsen, Kent, Lee, & Mather, 2011). Furthermore, according to
Vincent & Velkoff (2010), by the year 2042 the United States will become more racially and
ethnically diverse with the combined minority population expected to become the majority. Thus,
as people in the United States age over the next several decades, the older population will also
become a more racially and ethnically diverse group. In addition, the overall age structure of the
population is expected to change a great deal over the next four decades (Vincent & Velkoff,
2010). This will pose even more challenges to policy makers and programs designed to help the
elderly like Medicare and Social Security. Therefore, being able to project the size and structure
of the older population, in regards to age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin is not only important to
public interest, but also private both socially and economically (Vincent & Velkoff, 2010).
Another factor that supports this trend includes the environmental factors. The health and
well-being of the elderly has improved greatly over the past 30 years as death rates decrease,
disability is less prevalent among the oldest ages, and disease for the elderly does not mean a
death sentence (Jacobsen, Kent, Lee, & Mather, 2011). As the life expectancy in the United
States has increased, so has the added stress on our health care delivery system because of the
massive amount of older people who will need help with chronic diseases as they age that will
add to the already rising cost of healthcare (CDC, 2003). Furthermore, the younger generation of
today predicts that they will be more educated when the reach retirement age and the population
will be better educated, healthier, and culturally literate because of the generation they live with
today, which has taught them many lessons on how not to treat your body (Jacobsen, Kent, Lee,
& Mather, 2011).
Unfortunately, this trend in aging will only increase the many health issues associated
with getting older and will present huge challenges for the delivery of health care. According to

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