Why does the U.S. spend more on health care than any other nation while its population has a life expectancy lower than in many other developed countries? According to a new government report: smoking. From WebMD:
Life expectancies in the U.S. are now lower than for many other industrialized countries, and the nation’s past love affair with tobacco is largely to blame, government officials say.
In a report released Tuesday, a panel commissioned by the National Research Council sought to explain why the U.S. spends more on health care than any other nation, yet Americans are dying younger than some of their counterparts in other high-income countries.
Over the past two and a half decades, life expectancies continued to rise in the U.S., but at a slower pace than those seen in Australia, Canada, Japan, Great Britain, and other high-income European countries.
The average live expectancy for men in the U.S. was 75.6 years in 2007, compared to around 79 years among men in living in Australia, Japan, and Sweden and between 77 and 78 years among men living in the Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Great Britain, and France.
The life expectancy for women in the U.S. is 80.8 years, which is lower than for any other high-income country included in the analysis except Denmark (80.5 years).
Americans now smoke less than the populations of many other industrialized, high-income countries, but this was not the case in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, panel co-chair Samuel H. Preston, PhD, tells WebMD…
[continues at WebMD]