Monday: Raising the Grade

What does the data reveal about America’s health?

The U.S. doesn’t have the top health care system – we have a great “sick care” system. We have great doctors, state-of-the-art hospitals and we’re leaders in advanced procedures and pharmaceuticals. But studies consistently show that despite spending twice as much, we trail other countries in life expectancy and almost all other measures of good health. This holds true across all ages and income levels. So what is missing?  We need a stronger public health system that supports healthy communities and moves us toward preventing illness, disease and injury.

Facts & Stats:

We’ve seen some improvements!

In 2013:

  • Smoking continued its decline from 19.6% to 19.0% of the adult population.
  • Immunization coverage increased from 64% to 67.1% of adolescents aged 13 to 17 years.
  • We have many successes like increasing life expectancy, reducing infant mortality and declining cardiovascular deaths – but other countries are succeeding faster than we are.

And yet, compared to peers in other countries, people in the U. S. have…

  • Shorter lives – Over the past 25 years U.S. life expectancy has grown, but at a slower rate than in other countries. Studies consistently show we have a lower life expectancy than comparable countries.
  • Adverse birth outcomes – we have the highest infant mortality rate, low birth weights, the highest rate of women dying due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth and children are less likely to live to age 5.
  • Highest rates of injury and homicides – deaths from motor vehicle crashes, non-transportation injuries and violence occur at much higher rates than in other countries.
  • Heart disease – the U.S. death rate from ischemic heart disease is the second highest; at age 50 Americans have a less favorable cardiovascular risk profile and adults over age 50 are more likely to develop and die from cardiovascular disease
  • Obesity and diabetes – For decades the U.S. has had the highest obesity rates across all age groups and adults are among the highest prevalence of diabetes.
  • Chronic lung disease – Lung disease is more prevalent and associated with higher mortality.
  • Disability – Older U.S. adults report a higher prevalence of arthritis and activity limitations.
  • Adolescent pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease – our adolescents had the highest rate of pregnancies and are more likely to acquire sexually transmitted diseases.
  • HIV and AIDS – we have the second highest prevalence of HIV infection among 17 peer countries and the highest incidence of AIDS.
  • Drug related mortality – we lose more years of life to alcohol and other drugs than people in peer countries even when deaths from drunk driving are excluded. In fact the President’s 2014 National Drug Control Strategy noted that drug induced overdose deaths now surpass homicides and car crash deaths.

What’s next? Together we can create the healthiest nation in one generation.

We have a lot of challenges to overcome, but it all starts with a simple first step:

Sign the pledge to show your commitment.  Ask others to sign as well because the more people who sign, the more influence we have to drive change.

Sign the petition to ask our leaders to do their part.  It will take change at both the local and national level to ensure our communities make a positive impact on our health.

 

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