US lags behind economic peers on health outcomes

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 12 July 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4494
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

Americans are living longer than they did 20 years ago, but the United States still lags behind other wealthy nations on most health measures despite those countries spending far less on healthcare, a study has found.1

Researchers compared changes over two decades in the health statistics of the 34 member nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), including changes in life expectancy, leading causes of death, and years of disability.

The study found that from 1990 to 2010 life expectancy in the US for both sexes combined rose from 75.2 years to 78.2 years. Over the same period healthy life expectancy—that is, the years Americans could expect to live without major health problems—rose from 65.8 years to 68.1 years. …

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