Wednesday, May 03, 2006

US health: spend more for less

The British Are Much Healthier Than The Americans

May 2006 - 8:00am -- A large study, which looked at the health of middle class, middle-aged, white residents in both the USA and Britain found that the British enjoy much better health than their American counterparts. Even though the USA has a much higher income per capita than the UK, about 25% higher, the British are far ahead when it comes to the health of its residents. Americans also spend a great deal more on health care than the British do. The average expenditure per head per year on health in the UK is $2,164, while in the USA it stands at $5,274. You can read about this study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), May 3 Issue.

Even when obesity, drinking, smoking and social levels are taken into account, the difference between the two nations is significant. Here are some figures showing the incidence of some diseases:

DiabetesUSA - 12.5% UK - 6.1%
High Blood PressureUSA - 42.4% UK - 33.8%
Heart DiseaseUSA - 15.1% UK - 9.6%
CancerUSA - 9.5% UK - 5.5%
Lung DiseaseUSA - 8.1% UK - 6.3%
StrokeUSA - 3.8% UK - 2.3%
Heart AttackUSA - 5.5% UK - 4%


On the bright side, according to the CIA World Fact Book, the U.S. still appears to be holding on to its ranking of #48 in average life expectancy for 2006, edging out Cyprus (#49) and Albania (#53).

I presume that the diabetes incidence in the US will continue to expand briskly, since all those fat kids out there are future diabetics. One the other hand, Pfizer is said to have a great drug for diabetes in its development pipeline. . .

I wonder if anyone is ever going to address role high-fructose corn syrup plays in the U.S.'s freakishly high obesity and diabetes. The US is unique among nations in using high-fructose corn syrup as a sweetener instead of sugar. That's because our government policies make the price of sugar artificially high (highest in the world) and the price of corn artificially low.