Health News: America’s Health Worse than Other High-Income Countries

On average, Americans die sooner and experience higher rates of disease and injury than people in other high-income countries, says a new report from the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. This health disadvantage exists at all ages and even advantaged Americans—those with health insurance, college educations, higher incomes, and healthy behaviors—appear to be sicker than their peers in other rich nations.

The report is the first comprehensive look at multiple diseases, injuries, and behaviors across the entire lifespan. It compares the US with 16 peer nations, including Australia, Canada, Japan, and many western European countries. Among these countries, the US is at or near the bottom in nine key areas of health: infant mortality and low birth weight; injuries and homicides; teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections; prevalence of HIV and AIDS; drug-related deaths; obesity and diabetes; heart disease; chronic lung disease; and disability.