Americans Sicker Than Other Developed Nations
By Denise Mann, WebMD Health News:
Americans die younger and have higher rates of many types of diseases and injuries than people in other high-income countries, a new report shows.
“The health of Americans is far worse than the health of people in other countries despite the fact that we spend more money on health care,” says report author Steven H. Woolf, MD, MPH, during a news conference. He is a professor of family medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. “This has been going on since 1980 and getting progressively worse. I am struck by the gravity of our findings.”
This health disadvantage exists at all ages from birth to age 75 and in all socioeconomic groups. “Even those who are insured and college educated and have high incomes seem to be in worse health than people in other nations,” he says.
The report, put out by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, looked at multiple diseases, injuries, and behaviors across the entire life-span among 17 nations, including the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, and Western European countries.
Overall, American men live four years less than men in certain other high-income countries, and women live five years less than women in certain other countries, the report shows.
According to the report, the U.S. is at or near the bottom in nine key health areas, including:
- Infant death and low birth weight
- Injuries and murders
- Teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections
- Prevalence of HIV and AIDS
- Drug-related deaths
- Obesity and diabetes
- Heart disease; chronic lung disease; and disability