Americans are "far" unhealthier than their counterparts in Canada, Australia, Japan, Britain, France, Portugal, Italy and Germany and eight other countries, according to a study from the National Academy of Sciences.
These findings come even though here in the U.S. we spend $8,600 a year per person on healthcare, which is more than twice as much Britain, France and Sweden, "even with their universal healthcare systems."
“The size of the health disadvantage was pretty stunning,” Woolf told reporters in a telephone briefing.
Americans did worse in nine areas: infant mortality; injury and homicide rates; teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases; the AIDS virus; drug abuse; obesity and diabetes; heart disease; lung disease; and disabilities.
And many of these affect young people, not the elderly. Americans are seven times more likely to be murdered than people in the other countries, and 20 times more likely to be killed by a gun.
"I don't think most parents know that, on average, infants, children, and adolescents in the U.S. die younger and have greater rates of illness and injury than youth in other countries,” Woolf said.
“For many years, Americans have been dying at younger ages than people in almost all other high-income countries,” the expert panel wrote.
We also have a higher infant mortality rate than the other countries, with 32.7 deaths per 100,000. Other countries have infant mortality rates between 15 and 25 deaths per 100,000.
The report wasn't all bad for the U.S., Americans have lower death rates from cancer, the No. 2 cause of death, and do better at controlling blood pressure and cholesterol. “Americans who reach age 75 can expect to live longer than people in the peer countries,” the report reads.
The experts who wrote the report suggested that our culture here in the U.S. has much to do with the negative findings, and suggested that "policymakers" take action to reverse the trend.