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Lagging U.S. Life Expectancy Blamed on Health System–Scientific Research Showing That Smoking, Obesity, Traffic Accidents

Posted Oct 10 2010 1:42am

The study was conducted by scientists at the Commonwealth Fund in Washington DC and granted we are all trying to live healthier within what we can afford in image healthcare so maybe the word “afford” has some emphasis here?  The fact that we have a higher rate of more people stopping smoking didn’t make an impact either.

Perhaps there has been too much emphasis on meeting those algorithmic goals with too much pressure and not enough time to live life without additional stress too as dealing with all these complicated formulas does wear on everyone.  If consumes were able to get care without all the mathematics of trying to figure out what care they can get, it would lessen some of the stress we have today.  The US used to be in the #5 slot and had now dropped to #22. When comparing risk factors the study also said the percentage of obese people actually grew faster in most of the other countries compared between 1975 and 2005.  The age groups studied were between 45 to 65.  image

These are the feelings and conclusions of the scientists at the Commonwealth Fund, but this week stocks are up so this somewhat conveys a message that we are focusing more on money and bonds than the humans it seems as unemployment and jobs keep decreasing with technology changes and cut backs to run lean.  BD

From the website:

“The Commonwealth Fund, among the first private foundations started by a woman philanthropist—Anna M. Harkness—was established in 1918 with the broad charge to enhance the common good.

The mission of The Commonwealth Fund is to promote a high performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society's most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, minority Americans, young children, and elderly adults.

The Fund carries out this mandate by supporting independent research on health care issues and making grants to improve health care practice and policy. An international program in health policy is designed to stimulate innovative policies and practices in the United States and other industrialized countries.”

The Un­ited States is fall­ing sharply be­hind in world­wide rank­ings of life ex­pect­an­cy, and short­com­ings in the U.S. health care sys­tem may be to blame, sci­en­tists say.
Re­search­ers stu­dy­ing the is­sue con­clud­ed that obes­ity, smok­ing, traf­fic ac­ci­dents and hom­i­cide can’t ac­count for the drop—“lead­ing us to be­lieve that fail­ings in the U.S. health care sys­tem, such as costly spe­cial­ized and frag­ment­ed care, are likely play­ing a large role,” said Pe­ter Muen­nig of Co­lum­bia Uni­vers­ity, lead au­thor of the stu­dy.
In the re­search, which ap­pears in the Oct. 7 on­line is­sue of the jour­nal Health Af­fairs,
Muen­nig and co-au­thor Sher­ry Glied of Co­lum­bia cite the grow­ing lack of health insur­ance among Amer­i­cans as a pos­si­ble cul­prit.

Muen­nig and Glied found si­m­i­lar trends in the 13 coun­tries that they stud­ied, though they only ex­am­ined 15-year sur­viv­al rates for peo­ple at age 45 and 65. 
When they com­pared risk fac­tors, they found very lit­tle dif­fer­ence in smok­ing habits be­tween the U.S. and the com­par­i­son coun­tries—in fact, U.S. smok­ing rates de­clined more quickly than most oth­er coun­tries.

More­o­ver, they said, the pe­rcentage of obese peo­ple ac­tu­ally grew faster in most of the oth­er coun­tries be­tween 1975 and 2005.

“It was shock­ing to see the U.S. fall­ing be­hind oth­er coun­tries even as costs soared ahead of them,” said Muen­nig. “But what really sur­prised us was that all of the usu­al suspects—smok­ing, obes­ity, traf­fic ac­ci­dents, and hom­i­cides—are not the cul­prits.”

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