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Americans have higher rates of most chronic diseases than same-age counterparts in England
Date:3/8/2011

Researchers announced today in the American Journal of Epidemiology that despite the high level of spending on healthcare in the United States compared to England, Americans experience higher rates of chronic disease and markers of disease than their English counterparts at all ages.. Why health status differs so dramatically in these two countries, which share much in terms of history and culture, is a mystery.

The study uses data from two nationally representative surveys (see info below) to compare the health of residents of the United States and England from 0 to 80 years, focusing on a number of chronic conditions and markers of disease. This research builds on previous studies by other scholars that focused primarily on older adults.

"A systematic assessment of cross-country differences in health by age group and type of condition provides necessary context for learning about why older residents of England suffer fewer chronic health conditions than their counterparts in the US," notes Melissa L. Martinson, Office of Population Research, Princeton University.

Health measures based on physical examinations and/or laboratory reports included the following risk factors or conditions: obesity, hypertension, diabetes, low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, high cholesterol ratio, and high C-reactive protein* in addition to self-reported health issues (see study for details). These are the same measures that were used in other recent analyses that compared health of older adults in the two countries.

Differences between the two countries are statistically significant for every condition except hypertension. The results were not sensitive to alternative definitions of hypertension and are consistent with previous findings of lower rates of hypertension in the United States than in England. The disease prevalence for the self-reported conditions (i.e. asthma, heart attack, angina, and stroke) is largely consist
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Contact: Christian Purdy
christian.purdy@oup.com
001-212-726-6032
Oxford University Press
Source:Eurekalert

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