McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Breaking News

Features

January 28, 2013

US health is lousy compared with peer nations, report says

WASHINGTON — Americans live shorter lives and are in generally worse health  than citizens of other wealthy nations, according to an extensive report released Wednesday by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine.

The analysis of international health data determined that American men had the lowest life expectancy among men in 17 countries, including wealthy European nations, Australia, Canada and Japan. U.S. women had the second-lowest life expectancy (only Danish women fared worse.)

The study listed nine health areas in which Americans came in below average: 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; and disability.

The U.S. earned relatively high marks for its low cancer death rates and success controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels, the researchers said. But by and large, said panel chair Dr. Steven H. Woolf during a phone call with reporters Wednesday, the team was "struck by the gravity of our findings," which spanned the population.

"Even Americans who are white, insured, have college educations and seem to have healthy behaviors are in worse health than similar people in other nations," said Woolf, a researcher who directs the Center for Human Needs at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va.

The disparities were pervasive across all age groups up to 75, Woolf told the reporters, and seemed to stem from a variety of wide-ranging causes, including U.S. car culture, the number of uninsured people in the country, and weaknesses in our outpatient health care system.

Gun use emerged as a factor: Americans were seven times more likely to die in a homicide and 20 times more likely to die in a shooting than their peers. In all, two-thirds of the mortality disadvantage for American men was attributable to people under the age of 50 _ and slightly over half of that resulted from injuries, said study collaborator Samuel Preston, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania.

It is possible that there's something about American culture, and the high value it places on individualism and personal autonomy, that results in its poor performance, the researchers noted. It also may be that the U.S. is ahead of the curve on a general trend, and that other nations will also start to experience the health problems that have been on the rise here since the 1980s, Preston said.

The panel called for further research, including coordination with other countries to see if any of their successful strategies or policies could be adapted to apply in the U.S. But Woolf stressed that Americans shouldn't wait for new reports to act to combat factors such as obesity. "We know what to do," he said. "It's a matter of our society finding the resources to act."

___

(c)2013 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror'
NDN Video
Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Rory McIlroy struggles, surges, wins British Open NOW TRENDING: Real life Pac-Man
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.