Thu, 5 Dec 2013

Why People in the USA Has Shorter Lives And Poorer Health Than People In Other Rich Nations?

A study shows that people in the USA has shorter lives and poorer health than people in other rich nations. This is quite unnerving but is not surprising news either. While it is true that The United States of America is one of the economically and politically most powerful nations in the world, the dire state of health of the average American proved to be an inescapable social reality that has to be urgently addressed.

This is despite the fact that The US government spends more on health per person than in any other country in the world. The study by the US National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine statistically confirmed what many observed during the past years.

The report looked at the data from the late 90's to 2008 that revealed a consistent pattern of disturbingly high mortality and substandard health in the United States. Even the well-off US citizens who have college degrees, high income, medical insurance and even those who have a general healthy lifestyle are more prone to sickness than people from peer countries, according to the report.

Statistics over the years back up claims that people in the USA has shorter lives and poorer health than people in other rich nations as Americans have a lower life expectancy than those from comparable nations and the gap has been widening for the past 30 years.

The report goes on that The United Stated fared poorly in nine specific areas namely:

  • low birth weight and infant mortality
  • teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases
  • homicides and injuries
  • drug-related deaths
  • AIDS and HIV
  • diabetes and obesity
  • chronic lung disease
  • heart disease
  • disability

People's Bad Health in USA - Likely Explanations

Here are some likely explanations given by the panel regarding why people in the USA has shorter lives and poorer health than people in other rich nations:

Health Systems

The United States has a large population and a big chunk of the US population is uninsured and has limited access to primary health care. Their primary concern regarding the US Health Care System is that it is expensive and inaccessible and there are certain lapses in the safety and quality of care outside of the hospitals.

Health Behavior

Americans consume the largest amount of calories per person compared to people in other rich countries. They are also more involved in alcohol-related traffic accidents, higher drug-abuse rates, lesser seat-belt use, and are more involved in acts of violence using firearms.

However, studies also showed Americans are less likely to smoke tobacco and may consume less alcohol than those in peer countries.

Economic and Social Conditions

The level of poverty of the United States is surprisingly higher than those in other per countries especially when it comes to child poverty. This is despite Americans having a higher income on averages compared to those countries.

There is also a high rate of income inequality while social mobility rates remain low. Compounding these, the safety net programs by the US Government to buffer the adverse effects of poverty on public health and other social disadvantages are perceived to be inadequate by most Americans.

The Physical Environment

Most communities and other urban/residential planning designs in the United States mostly revolve around the automobile and other leisurely lifestyle that may encourage physical inactivity and promotes obesity as a result.