United States of America spent approximately $2.6 trillion on healthcare in 2010 – that is more than any other country in the world. Although that’s a considerable sum, a research study from National Academy of Sciences showed that Americans still live shorter lives than citizens from other countries in the world. Moreover, they also experience more injuries and illnesses than people from other high-income countries.
Besides the US, the survey included other 17 countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, USA finished dead-last in nearly every category. The only part where USA achieved better results than its peers was +75 years segment of population. As it was proven, the septuagenarians have lower death rates from strokes and cancer, better control of blood pressure and cholesterol level as well as lower rates of smoking. But since all the younger categories are defective in these segments, how long will America have these better results in this advanced age category?
“The tragedy is not that the United States is losing a contest with other countries but that Americans are dying and suffering from illness and injury at rates that are demonstrably unnecessary” said S teven Woolf, Chair, Panel on Understanding Cross-National Health Differences Among High-Income Countries. USA had the highest morbidity rate compared to its peers countries in 4 different age groups: 0-4, 5-19, 20-34 & 35-49.
So what’s the explanation?
1. Unlike the other countries in the study, the United States have a large uninsured population, with poor access to primary care.
2. Also, although Americans smoke less and drink less alcohol, they consume the most calorie per person, have bigger rates for drug abuse, are less likely to wear a seatbelt and they are more likely to use firearms in acts of violence.
3. USA might have an average income that is higher than more of its peer countries, but the poverty levels are considerable high, so as the income inequality.
4. In America, communities and the built environment are designer around automobiles use, which discourages different sorts of physical activity and eventually leads to obesity.
Here’s an infographic showcasing all the results of the study:
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