England 'healthier than the US'
People living in England enjoy better health than Americans, despite
less investment in healthcare, research published in the US has
Across all ages, US residents tend to fare worse in terms of
diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease markers, data on over
100,000 people show. The reason remains a mystery, says the US team, and
challenges the idea that resources necessarily improve health.
It may be due to the UK's bigger drive on disease prevention, they
say. Transatlantic health gap Despite the greater use of health care
technology in the US, Americans receive less preventive health care than
their English counterparts.
They have fewer physician consultations per year. Acute hospital
visits are also shorter in the US, potentially resulting in missed
opportunities for follow-up, say the report authors in the American
Journal of Epidemiology.
It is also possible that differences in social or environmental
conditions or lifestyle play a role.
But despite looking, the researchers did not find any real evidence
that differences in obesity, alcohol consumption or physical activity
were to blame.
Smoking may be a factor, but Dr Melissa Martinson and colleagues
doubt it because even younger Americans who have not yet been exposed to
decades of tobacco smoke appear to be in worse health than English
And although a larger share of Americans are uninsured or under
insured compared to populations in England or other European countries,
even groups with good access to health insurance experienced worse
health than people in England.
The researchers say: "Why health status differs so dramatically in
these two countries, which share much in terms of history and culture,
is an unresolved puzzle.