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Carnegie Mellon Researcher Links Health Care Debate to Risk of Dying in the U.S. and Europe
Date:11/6/2009

gher chance of dying," Fischbeck said. "In fact, if the U.S. had Germany's death rates, we would see 150,000 more annual deaths of those over 80."

A new Web site, www.DeathriskRankings.com, developed by researchers and students at Carnegie Mellon allows users to explore differences in the probability of dying across European countries and U.S. states for men and women of different ages and races.

"When our risk data is coupled with health care cost estimates from other sources, surprising results are found," Fischbeck said. "It is only by comparing the reduction of risk associated with the additional costs that good policy choices can be made."

The research shows that prostate cancer, which has few lifestyle risk factors, is a much greater killer in Europe. In 11 European countries (including Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands and the United Kingdom) a man in his 70s has a higher chance of dying from prostate cancer than a man in Mississippi, the U.S. state with the highest risk. When compared to residents of Hawaii, the U.S. state with the lowest prostate cancer risk, Europeans are two to three times more likely to die from prostrate cancer.

The tables are reversed when comparing the diabetes death risk for men in their 70s, a risk highly related to lifestyle choices and obesity. Fifteen European countries (including Greece, the United Kingdom, Norway, Germany and France) have lower risks than Iowa, the U.S. state with the lowest risk. Louisiana, the U.S. state with the highest risk, has a risk that is 10 times greater than Iceland, the lowest risk European country for diabetes.

Similar risk comparisons are possible for women. The risks for breast cancer are lower in the U.S. For 50-, 60- or 70-year-olds, four to eight European countries (including Denmark, Netherlands and the United Kingdom) have a higher risk of dying of breast cancer than either New Jersey or Louisiana, the two U.S. states th
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