News / Health

America's Health Report Card Shows Improvement Needed

America's Health Report Card Shows Improvement Neededi
X
July 10, 2013 5:12 PM
A new study of Americans’ overall health picture shows that Americans are generally healthier, but may be living with chronic disease longer and dying younger. VOA’s Carol Pearson looks at the contributors, chronic disabilities and risk factors to poor health and premature death.
Carol Pearson
A new study of Americans’ overall health picture shows that Americans are generally healthier, but may be living with chronic disease longer and dying younger. A look at the contributors, chronic disabilities and risk factors to poor health and premature death shed some light about what's happening.

If you ask Americans about health and life expectancy, they're pretty well informed.

"I believe Americans are living longer. I do not believe they are healthier,” said one woman.

“I don’t think Americans as a whole are very healthy,” said another.

These two people happen to be right, said Dr. Christopher Murray from the University of Washington.

“It turns out we’re living longer but we will spend more years with chronic disabilities of that extra life span,” he said.

Murray led a study that examined the major diseases and injuries that have contributed to poor health and premature death over the past 20 years.

The researchers found the biggest contributors to chronic disability include depression and anxiety, back pain, diabetes and lung diseases that block airflow and make breathing difficult.  

As for the greatest causes of premature death, topping the list are heart attack, stroke and cancer. The major causes of these diseases are smoking and eating too much of the wrong foods.

“680,000 deaths are attributable to poor diet. There’s still more than 400,000 deaths a year from tobacco, followed by obesity and then high blood pressure as the key contributors to ill health as risk factors," said Murray.

Air pollution also is a contributor. The National Institutes of Health says air pollution contributes to heart and lung diseases, and evidence points to long-term effects from air pollution on lung development in children.

The researchers also found that diseases related to aging, obesity, and alcohol and drug abuse also are on the rise.

“There are also diseases that are on the rapid increase, things like Alzheimer’s, drug-use disorders, chronic kidney diseases, diabetes,” said Murray.

On the plus side, the study shows Americans generally are enjoying better health longer. That's due to advances in treating stroke, and certain cancers - including colon and breast cancers. Even so, the U.S. lags behind other wealthy nations in advances in population health.

The researchers would like to see more public health programs and interventions to encourage Americans to become more physically active, to make better food choices, to reduce the use of alcohol and tobacco, and to decrease the amount of pollution in cities.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
July 11, 2013 1:28 AM
I looked into the life expectancy rank of this year in the world and found that US is 79 years old which is ranked at 33 among 194 entrys equal to Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark and Bahrayn. I think it should be careful when estimating US life expectancy because I heard more than a half of population is not originated at present. I would like to know the expectancies of each ethnics respectively. Life styles including foods, exercises and tastes would be not a little different between the ethnics.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid