Report: Life expectancy up, health problems up

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The National Center for Health Statistics reported an increase in the life expectancy rate, but it also found a disturbing trend in the health of aging Americans.

Americans' life expectancy has increased by nearly 2 years since 1990. A child born in 2003 can expect to live 77.6 years on average, up from 75.4 years in 1990 and 77.3 in 2002.

But the study report from the National Center for Health Statistics said that half of Americans ages 55 to 64, a group that includes the oldest of the baby boomers, have high blood pressure, and 2 in 5 are obese.

People born in the 1930s had lower rates of high blood pressure and obesity than the Americans born in the 1940s. The hypertension rate in the 1930s group was 42% compared to 50% for the 1940s group; and the older group's rate of obesity was 31% in 1990, compared with 39% for the 1940s group now.

The report presents the latest data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics and other health agencies and organizations.