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Older Americans Sicker Than British Peers...
Date:11/4/2010

>The results may surprise Americans, Smith said. "Most Americans would think that we should be healthier than the English since they smoke a lot, drink more than we do and their diets don't sound so healthy. Think of the English breakfast for example. The fact that it is not true is a real wake-up call."

The researchers reported their findings Nov. 4 in the journal Demography.

The findings suggest that the American health-care system is having trouble with disease prevention, said epidemiologist David Rehkopf.

"The better care that Americans get from their health-care system occurs very late in the disease process," said Rehkopf, an assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco. "This does have an important benefit for reducing mortality."

"However," he added, "because less focus is put on prevention, we have to live and manage chronic disease and illness for long periods of time. The findings suggest that the main deficiencies in the U.S. health system may be in preventing disease from occurring. This is important to begin to address if people want to also live disease-free, rather than just longer."

More information

For more on healthy aging, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: James P. Smith, Ph.D., senior economist, Rand Corp., Santa Monica, Calif.; David Rehkopf, Ph.D., assistant professor, epidemiology and biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco; Nov. 4, 2010, Demography


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