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Why Does the Average Canadian Outlive the Average American?

 

Hypertension

(2/17/18)- According to Ong et al in Hypertension (2008;51(4);1142-8), almost one-third of the U. S. adult population are affected by hypertension. Yoon et al reported in the National Center for Health Statistics, 2012 (available from: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db107.pdf) that 82% of adults were aware of their status and that nearly 76% were taking medicine and that 52% were controlled. This use of medication increased with age: 44.5% for those aged 18-39, 73.7% for those 40-59, and 82.2% for those 60 and over. More women than men tend to treat their hypertension and have it under control.

The medical profession feels that hypertension is a "common and manageable chronic disease".  The goals to achieve healthy control to date have not met the Healthy People 2020 goal, or the Million Heart Initiative goal.  The definition used to define "controlled hypertension" is having systolic blood pressure below 140 mm HG and diastolic blood pressure below 90 mm Hg.

The source of the data mentioned above comes from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) based on a cross-sectional survey measuring civilian, non-institutionalized U. S. population.  The survey is fairly extensive consisting of" interview conducted in the participant's home, a standardized physical examination that includes measurements of blood pressure, weight, and height, conducted in a mobile examination center, and laboratory tests using blood and urine specimens provided by participants during the physical examination", (NCHS Data brief, No. 133, October 2013).

(7/14/13)- The results of a recent study that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that even though Americans are living longer then they did two decades ago, they are losing ground on key measures of health to people in other developed countries.

Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle, who was the author for the study said that even though American are living longer lives it is "not necessarily in good health".

The study covered the quality of life and life expectancy among the34 members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The analysis was based on data for 291 diseases and 67 risk factors for disease from residents of 187 countries.

Our nation's average life expectancy rose three years from 75.2 in 1990 to 78.2 in 2010. But, our countries ranking among OECD members fell to 27th from 20th in the earlier period.

U.S. residents were in good health or without short-or-long term disabilities for just 68.3 of those years on average, according to the report.

(6/24/09- American adults reported worse health than did English or European adults. Eighteen percent of Americans reported heart disease, compared with 12% of English and 11% of Europeans. 

At all wealth levels, Americans were less healthy than were Europeans, but differences were more marked among the poor. Health disparities by wealth were significantly smaller in Europe than in the United States and England. (March 2009, Vol 99, No. 3 | American Journal of Public Health 540-54)

(6/16/08)- American adults reported worse health than did English or European adults. Eighteen percent of Americans reported heart disease, compared with 12% of English and 11% of Europeans. At all wealth levels, Americans were less healthy than were Europeans, but differences were more marked among the poor. Health disparities by wealth were significantly smaller in Europe than in the United States and England. (March 2009, Vol 99, No. 3 | American Journal of Public Health 540-54)

(6/16/08)- According to the latest statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics the average American life expectancy rose to above 78 for the first time in our history. This country lags behind about 30 other countries in estimated life span. These figures cover the period through 2006, which is the latest period for which they are available.

The average life expectancy for babies born in 2006 was about 4 months greater than for children born in 2005. Japan at 83 years of age has the longest life expectancy for children born in 2006 according to World Health Organization data.

The increase is due mainly to falling mortality rates in almost all the leading causes of death.

The age-adjusted U.S. death rate dropped roughly 3% from 2005 to 2006 reaching an all-time low of 776 deaths per 100,000 individuals according to a CDC review of national mortality data.

(5/18/06)- The results of a recent study indicated that Americans 55 and older are much sicker than comparably aged individuals from Britain, even though we spend about $5,274 a year per capita, compared to the $2,164 per capita spent on these same age group individuals in Britain.

The researchers, under the leadership of Dr. Michael Marmot concluded that differences in health could not be ascribed to the "usual suspects", such as rates of smoking, obesity or alcohol abuse. In an interview, Dr. Marmot said: "Work, job, insecurity, the nature of communities, residential communities, et cetera- I think that's the place we should try to look" to see why the difference."

The results of the study were published in a recent edition of JAMA.

The researchers found that "smoking behavior was similar in both countries." Even though obesity levels were much higher in the U.S., drinking was more common in England. Wealthier and better-educated people in both countries were much healthier, than do poorer or less educated people.

U.S. residents have a higher rate of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, heart attack, stroke, lung disease and cancer than their English counterparts.

(5/4/06)- According to the latest statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics the American life expectancy rose to 77.9 years in 2004, the latest year for which the statistics are available. The preliminary number of American deaths recorded for 2004 was 2,398,343, which represents a 2% decline of 49,945 from 2003.

The decreases in deaths from heart disease, cancer and stroke accounted for most of the decline. In light of the aging of our population, this was a very pleasant number. The last decline in the number of deaths from one year to another took place in 1997, wherein there was only a 445 drop in the number of deaths from 1996.

The number has not dropped so steeply since 1938, which had a drop of 69,000 from 1937. All in all however we ranked number 25 throughout the world as far as average age goes for Americans compared to the rest of the world.

(9/15/02)-According to the latest statistics, which cover the year 2000, the life expectancy for Americans reached a record high of 76.9 years. Some of the gap between men and women is narrowing as shown by the fact that the gap was 7.6 years in 1970, whereas it had narrowed to 5.4 years in 2000. The gap between whites and blacks is also narrowing as shown by the fact that it was 8.3 years in 1950, and it came down to 5.6 years in 2000.

On January 25th, 2000 HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala and Surgeon General David Sachter released the "Healthy People 2010" report and unveiled a new national health assessment tool called the nation's "Leading Health Indicators". The HHS has developed 10-year health objectives every decade since its inception in 1979. The goals of "Healthy People 2010" is to both increase the quality and years of healthy life, and to eliminate health disparities.

In addition to containing some very important demographic numbers, the report evaluates how we Americans have done over the last decade. To quote from the report:

"For example, during the last decade, we achieved significant reductions in infant mortality. Childhood vaccinations are at the highest levels ever recorded in the United States. Fewer teenagers are becoming parents. Overall, alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use is leveling off. Death rates for coronary heart disease and stroke have declined. Significant advances have been made in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and in reducing unintentional injuries.
But we still have a long way to go. Diabetes and other chronic conditions continue to present a serious obstacle to public health. Violence and abusive behavior continue to ravage homes and communities across the country. Mental disorders continue to go undiagnosed and untreated. Obesity in adults has increased 50 percent over the past two decades. Nearly 40 percent of adults engage in no leisure time physical activity. Smoking among adolescents has increased in the past decade. And HIV/AIDS remains a serious health problem, now disproportionately affecting women and communities of color."

Although the report covers many areas there are several in particular that I would like to discuss herein. At the beginning of the 20th century, life expectancy at birth was 47.3 years, and it now is 77 years. An individual who is now aged 65 can expect to live an average of 18 more years, while those now 75 can expect to live 11 more years. The average life expectancy for a Canadian female is 81.2 years while that of an average Canadian male is 75.2 years. Compare that with the average expectancy of the average American female of 78.9 years and the average American male of 72.5 years. There are 18 countries with populations of 1 million or more that have life expectancies greater than that of the U.S. "The life expectancy for African American women has risen to be higher today than that for white men".

In 1996, 90 percent of people in the United States rated their health as good, very good, or excellent. "Healthy People 2010 seeks to increase life expectancy and quality of life over the next 10 years by helping individuals gain the knowledge, motivation and opportunities they need to make informed decisions about their health".

Strangely enough women are at a much greater risk of being afflicted with Alzheimer's disease than are men. Women are twice as likely to be affected by major depression than men are. Death from heart disease is 40% greater in African Americans than for whites. Hispanics are twice as likely to die from diabetes than are non-Hispanic whites. The least educated and the poorest suffer the worst health status. Although 25% of Americans live in rural areas (defined as having 2,500 or less residents) they have a 40% higher death rate from injury related accidents. Roughly 21% of the population or 54 million people suffer from some form of disability.

The progress that is made in our health for the next decade will be monitored through 467 objectives in 28 focus areas. The 10 leading causes of death as a percentage of all deaths in the U.S. in 1997 were:

For those over 65 years of age the 3 leading causes of death of Americans in 1997 were: Heart Disease (606,913 people); Cancer (382,913 people); and Stroke (140,366).

 

The Leading Health Indicators are:

Please see this report for further details.

FOR AN INFORMATIVE AND PERSONAL ARTICLE ON PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS WHEN SELECTING A NURSING HOME SEE OUR ARTICLE - " How to Select a Nursing Home"

Allan Rubin
updated February 17, 2014

http://www.therubins.com

e-mail: hrubin12@nyc.rr.com or allanrubin4@gmail.com

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