There are many everyday habits and behaviors that can pose significant risks to human health. Smoking tobacco, excessive alcohol consumption, a lack of exercise and poor diet, drug use, and unprotected sex are common examples. Such activities can increase the risk of numerous diseases including hypertension, heart disease, cancer, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and diabetes. These behaviors and habits not only impact the health of individuals, but are also very costly. In 2017, it was estimated that health care costs due to tobacco use alone in the United States totaled 168 billion dollars, while the health care costs due to illicit drugs were estimated at 11 billion dollars.
In contrast to the decrease in tobacco use, the problem of weight and obesity continues to be prevalent in the United States. The percent of the population that is obese has risen steadily over the last decade, with 31.7 percent of adults reported to be obese in 2018. This increase in obesity is due to various factors, including unhealthy eating habits and a lack of physical activity. Over a quarter of the entire adult population in the U.S. is considered physically inactive, with rates as high as 34 percent in the state of Kentucky. The health risks of being overweight include high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart disease and stroke, and diabetes.
Even a natural activity, like sex, can contain health risks if not practiced safely. Rates of some sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphilis and gonorrhea, have increased in recent years, with 31 new cases of syphilis reported per 100,000 population in 2017. Some of the best ways people can protect against STDs are by using male condoms, being tested, and becoming vaccinated. The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is safe and effective and is recommended for all youth and young adults. Nevertheless, in 2018, only 66 percent of males aged 13 to 17 years had received one or more doses of the HPV vaccine.
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In the following 7 chapters, you will quickly find the 62 most important statistics relating to "Health risk factors in the U.S.".