U.S. Health in International Perspective Report: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health

From Report Brief

From Report Brief

A new report sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and written the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine highlights the fact that the life expectancy and health of Americans is far behind that of other similarly developed nations.

“The report examines the nature and strength of the research evidence on life expectancy and health in the United States, comparing U.S. data with statistics from 16 “peer countries” — other high-income democracies in Western Europe, as well as Canada, Australia, and Japan. The panel relied on the most current data, and it also examined historical trend data beginning in the 1970s; most statistics in the report are from the late 1990s through 2008. The panel was struck by the gravity of its findings. For many years, Americans have been dying at younger ages than people in almost all other high-income countries.

This disadvantage has been getting worse for three decades, especially among women. Not only are their lives shorter, but Americans also have a longstanding pattern of poorer health that is strikingly consistent and pervasive over the life course — at birth, during childhood and adolescence, for young and middle-aged adults, and for older adults”.

One of the key findings of the report is that Americans lag behind other nations in nine key health areas:

• Infant mortality and low birth weight
• Injuries and homicides
• Adolescent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections
• HIV and AIDS
• Drug-related deaths
• Obesity and diabetes
• Heart disease
• Chronic lung disease
• Disability

The report places the blame for these health deficits on factors such as the American health system, poor health behaviors (especially those leading to obesity), and income equality.

From Report Brief

From Report Brief

To read the full report please visit here.

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