U.S. health lags far behind peer nations, study says
LOS ANGELES -- 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 United States 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 Steven H. Woolf on Wednesday, the team was “struck by the gravity of our findings,” which spanned the population.
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 younger than 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.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New York farmers lament lost opportunity for natural gas riches with fracking ban
- Police: NYC cop killer invited people to watch shooting
- Coal mines near record low in worker deaths
- Georgia prosecutor Yates tapped for No. 2 post in Justice Department
- Obama says Sony hack not an act of war
- New York City subways slowly upgrading from 1930s-era technology
- Government survey: More teens trying out e-cigarettes than real thing
- California downpours arrive with lightning
- Smoking, drinking falls off among teens, but not drug use
- Ghostly snailfish found at record depth
- WikiLeaks releases purported CIA documents on operatives’ travel