Our American Lives: Nasty, Brutish, Short

Sorry to be a downer, but the evidence is not good.  A study requested by the US government, jointly conducted by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine, finds that Americans continue to live less healthy and shorter lives than pretty much anyone else in the developed world, and that long-standing trend (since the 80s) is only getting more pronounced.  You can follow the doom and gloom in detail here. And here. And here. Yikes.  The whole report that came out of the study is available for download here.

For those who have been following trends in American health, this is discouraging but not surprising.  What is new (to me) is the fact that our relatively poor health is not (just) the result of very bad health care for our poorer populations; the recent reports also show that wealthy Americans are likely to be less healthy than their wealthy counterparts in other developed nations.  And all of this is in spite of the fact that America spends twice as much on health care as do other developed nations.

The study suggests that many of the disparities are correctable, particularly through prevention campaigns aimed at improving health in early childhood.


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