Chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer, are currently the leading causes of both death and disability in the USA. It is estimated that 70 % of all deaths nationwide are due to chronic illnesses (1.7 million deaths each year), and 133 million Americans were living with a chronic disease in 2005. Although chronic diseases are some of the most prevalent and costly health problems in the USA, they are also largely preventable. Healthy behaviors, such as getting enough exercise, eating right, and avoiding tobacco, can help to prevent many chronic diseases . In this chapter, chronic disease mortality rates are presented as age-adjusted rates; prevalence of chronic diseases are presented as crude estimates.
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