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

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid