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Americans Suffer Worse Health Than Peers in Other Countries
Date:1/9/2013

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 9 (HealthDay News) -- The United States is falling behind 16 other affluent nations in terms of the health and safety of its populace, and even younger Americans are not spared this sobering fact.

According to a new report, people living in the United States die sooner, get sicker and sustain more injuries than those in other high-income countries, such as Japan and Australia.

Even younger Americans with health insurance are prone to injuries and ill health, according to the report, released Wednesday by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine.

"The health of Americans is far worse than those of people in other countries, despite the fact that we spend more [on health care]," said Dr. Steven Woolf, a professor of family medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and chair of the panel that wrote the report.

Compared to 16 other well-off nations in Europe and elsewhere, the United States occupies the bottom or near-bottom rung of the ladder in a number of health areas, including infant mortality and low birth rate, injury and homicide rates, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections including HIV, drug-related deaths, obesity and its complement conditions diabetes and heart disease, chronic lung disease and disability.

Americans are seven times more likely to die of homicides and 20 times more likely to die from shootings than their peers in comparable countries.

The disadvantages extend across the human life span, from babies (premature birth rates in the United States are on a par with that of sub-Saharan Africa) to the age of 75.

They also extend beyond the poor and minorities.

"Even Americans who are white, insured, have college education or high income or [are] engaged in healthy behaviors seem to be in poorer health than people with similar characteristics in other nations,"
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