NAS Report: U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health

DCP3 lead editor Dean Jamison served as a member of the panel on Understanding Cross-National Health Differences Among High-Income Countries.  The panel's work framed the primary issue of the NAS report; the comparison of U.S. health to other nations.  Jamison and Stephane Verguet conducted a "years behind" analysis for the NAS report, which is highlighted in Chapter 1 of the full report.  Below is the January 10 USA Today article announcing the release of the report.


Americans have a "pattern of poorer health" than people in other wealthy countries, a new report shows.

Liz Szabo, USA TODAY1:18a.m. EST January 10, 2013

Americans live sicker and die younger than people in other wealthy countries — and the gap is getting worse over time, a new report shows.

Men in the USA have shorter lives than men in 16 developed nations. American women also fall near the bottom of the list, living 5.2 fewer years than Japanese women, who live the longest.

Americans "have a long-standing pattern of poorer health that is strikingly consistent and pervasive" over a person's lifetime, says the report, from the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, independent, non-profit groups that advise the federal government on health.

"The tragedy is not that the United States is losing a contest with other countries," the report says, "but that Americans are dying and suffering from illness and injury at rates that are demonstrably unnecessary."

Family physician Steven Woolf, who chaired the panel that wrote the report, said authors were "stunned by these findings."

The report's most important purpose, Woolf says, is to alert Americans to these problems. "Our sense is that Americans don't really know about this," says Woolf, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. "I don't think people realize that their children are likely to live shorter lives than children in other countries."  More