Being American is BAD for your Health
|Being American Is Bad for Your Health
“Americans are sicker and die younger than people in other wealthy nations.”
That stark sentence appears in the January 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, and it comes from the authors of a landmark report — “Shorter Lives, Poorer Health” — on differences among high-income countries.
You probably already know that America spends more on health care than any other country. That was one of the few facts to survive the political food fight pretending to be a serious national debate about the Affordable Care Act.
But the airwaves also thrummed with so many sound bites from so many jingoistic know-nothings claiming that America has the best health care system in the world that today, most people don’t realize how shockingly damaging it is to your wellness and longevity to be born in the U.S.A.
This is made achingly clear in the study of the “U.S. health disadvantage” recently issued by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine, which was conducted over 18 months by experts in medicine and public health, demography, social science, political science, economics, behavioral science and epidemiology.
Compare the health of the American people with our peer nations — with Britain, Canada and Australia; with Japan; with the Scandinavian countries; with France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Side by side with the world’s wealthy democracies, America comes in last, and over the past several decades, it’s only gotten worse.