Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

The US is a sick nation, even speaking purely in medical terms

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Laudon Aron writes in the New Scientist, reprinted in Slate:

Americans die younger and experience more injury and illness than people in other rich nations, despite spending almost twice as much per person on health care. That was the startlingconclusion of a major report released earlier this year by the U.S. National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine.

It received widespread attention. The New York Times concluded: “It is now shockingly clear that poor health is a much broader and deeper problem than past studies have suggested.”

What it revealed was the extent of the United States’ large and growing “health disadvantage,” which shows up as higher rates of disease and injury from birth to age 75 for men and women, rich and poor, across all races and ethnicities. The comparison countries—Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom—generally do much better, although the United Kingdom isn’t far behind the United States.

The poorer outcomes in the United States are reflected in measures as varied as infant mortality, the rate of teen pregnancy, traffic fatalities, and heart disease. Even those with health insurance, high incomes, college educations, and healthy lifestyles appear to be sicker than their counterparts in other wealthy countries. The U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, a nonpartisan think tank, described the report as “a catalog of horrors.”

Findings that prompted this reaction include the fact that the rate of premature births in the United States is the highest among the comparison countries and more closely resembles those of sub-Saharan Africa. Premature birth is the most frequent cause of infant death in the United States, and the cost to the health care system is estimated to top $26 billion a year.

As distressing as all this is, much less attention has been given to the obvious question: Why is the United States so unwell? The answer, it turns out, is simple and yet deceptively complex: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

22 July 2013 at 12:21 pm

Posted in Fitness, Health, Medical

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