Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Time Spent in Health-Related Self Care

Many Americans have health needs that require daily attention. The American Time Use Survey measures this time, calling it "health-related self care," and documents its growing importance in daily life as people age. Health-related self care includes activities such as taking medicine or vitamins; resting because of an illness or injury; giving oneself a shot; testing blood sugar levels; taking insulin; applying ointment; putting ice on an injury; changing oxygen; doing childbirth, stress management, or therapeutic exercises; and even meditating (not religious).

On an average day, 7 percent of people aged 15 or older engage in health-related self care as a primary activity. Among people aged 75 or older, the proportion is one in five...

Percent participating in health-related self care on an average day
Aged 15 to 19: 1%
Aged 20 to 24: 2%
Aged 25 to 34: 2%
Aged 35 to 44: 3%
Aged 45 to 54: 8%
Aged 55 to 64: 9%
Aged 65 to 74: 12%
Aged 75-plus: 21%

The time devoted to health-related self care is not trivial. Those who engage in health-related self care on an average day spend more than an hour attending to their health needs.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of unpublished tables from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014 American Time Use Survey

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