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US Near Bottom In Life Expectancy In Developed World

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the would-you-like-fries-with-that dept.

Medicine 1063

Hugh Pickens writes "Louise Radnofsky reports that a study by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine has found U.S. life expectancy ranks near the bottom of 17 affluent countries. The U.S. is at or near the bottom in nine key areas of health: infant mortality and low birth weight; injuries and homicides; teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections; prevalence of HIV and AIDS; drug-related deaths; obesity and diabetes; heart disease; chronic lung disease; and disability. Americans fare worse than people in other countries even when the analysis is limited to non-Hispanic whites and people with relatively high incomes and health insurance, nonsmokers, or people who are not obese. The report notes that average life expectancy for American men, at 75.6 years, was the lowest among the 17 countries and almost four years shorter than for Switzerland, the best-performing nation. American women's average life expectancy is 80.8 years, the second-lowest among the countries and five years shorter than Japan's, which had the highest expectancy. 'The [U.S.] health disadvantage is pervasive — it affects all age groups up to age 75 and is observed for multiple diseases, biological and behavioral risk factors, and injuries,' say the report's authors. The authors offered a range of possible explanations for Americans' worse health and mortality, including social inequality, limited availability of contraception for teenagers, community designs that discourage physical activity such as walking, air pollution as well as individual behaviors such as high calorie consumption. The report's authors were particularly critical of the availability of guns. 'One behavior that probably explains the excess lethality of violence and unintentional injuries in the United States is the widespread possession of firearms and the common practice of storing them (often unlocked) at home,' reads the report. 'The statistics are dramatic.'"

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Well... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42556853)

...let's get real: for the government, the insurance companies, the health care providers, etc, etc, etc, ad eternum...that's a good thing.

Re:Well... (3, Interesting)

DragonTHC (208439) | about a year and a half ago | (#42556917)

potentially, but this country's owners are just plain happy giving people the freedom to make life shortening choices.

Re:Well... (1, Interesting)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557059)

This country's owners are the citizens. Yes, they are happy to have the freedom to make life shortening choices.

Re:Well... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557117)

The country's owners are the corporations. The citizens are clueless sheep who will do what the corporations tell them to do on fox nes.

Re:Well... (3, Insightful)

GaryOlson (737642) | about a year and a half ago | (#42556937)

The state of medical research today in the USA:
publishing a report where the conclusions are known in advance, and the conclusions are provided by your financial sponsors, and the conclusions meet with a pre-approved social agenda.

Re:Well... (2, Informative)

comp.sci (557773) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557055)

That is simply not true for two reasons: First, this is appears to not be peer-reviewed, and thus does not count as "medical research" by any means. It's a book / report they are publishing, it doesn't have the same weight as a peer-reviewed article in a medical journal. Second, while there definitely is commercial money in medical research, these studies are scrutinized very carefully before being accepted by the community. For every publication each author has to disclose financial interests and where all the money for the study came from. This is taken very seriously and these safeguards are working quite well. People often get confused by independent reports or white-papers by "think tanks" and think this is the same as peer reviewed academic research: it's not and the medical community knows that. One of the reasons why it's so hard to have an argument online and somebody posts a "study" that "debunks" a concept without keeping the above in mind.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557161)

The statement about gun violence is particularly ridiculous. Gun violence may be [i]relatively[/i] high compared to other countries, but there's no possible way it affects average life expectancy in a country of 300 million people.

inequality (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42556857)

It's the high inequality stupid, having a bigger bigger portion of the population being poor will do this...

Re:inequality (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42556915)

obviouslt your agenda forbade you to read:

"even when the analysis is limited to non-Hispanic whites and people with relatively high incomes and health insurance, nonsmokers, or people who are not obese."

Re:inequality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557229)

obviouslt your agenda forbade you to read:

As did yours. Mind explaining how "teen pregnancy" has fuck-all to do with health? Keep in mind that 18 and 19 are still part of your teenage years.

Yeah, but we're very productive (5, Interesting)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42556859)

The rest of you would be working yourself to death too if you were making $7.25/hr., had no job security or benefits, couldn't afford a hospital stay, and were afraid you would get laid off if you took a vacation. No 3-hour lunches or month-long vacations here. We WORK for a living! Even the relatively affluent can get fired or laid off at the drop of a hat in the USA.

But don't worry. You'll learn what it's like soon enough. Greece has already started. No more free rides, fellow Athenians!

Re:Yeah, but we're very productive (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42556901)

For fucks sake, read the fucking summary:

Americans fare worse than people in other countries even when the analysis is limited to non-Hispanic whites and people with relatively high incomes and health insurance, nonsmokers, or people who are not obese.

Re:Yeah, but we're very productive (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42556979)

For fucks sake, read the fucking summary:

That's so radical, it just might work!

Re:Yeah, but we're very productive (4, Informative)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42556981)

For fucks sake, read the fucking comment:

Even the relatively affluent can get fired or laid off at the drop of a hat in the USA.

Re:Yeah, but we're very productive (5, Insightful)

MrSome (2587847) | about a year and a half ago | (#42556993)

Yo AC,
Read his post again. I think you're the one who's missing something here.

Crazyjj is making a point that the problem is the stress caused by having to WORK way more than our fellow affluent countries. While I don't know if this is accurate, I do seem to recall articles stating the more relaxed work atmospheres and the large amount of vacation available in some European countries.

Most people in the US are lucky to get 2 weeks of paid vacation per year... INCLUDING THE HIGH INCOME PEOPLE. And if they do, they're too scared to take it because their employers make it seem like if you do, you're not a "dedicated employee".

Before everyone else starts in on the "Well he should just find another job..." Quit yellin that BS. If you have a job now, you're lucky. So you take what you can get and do the best you can. It doesn't mean you're not allowed to complain if it's difficult to change your current position.

I get 3 weeks of vacation, and 5 sick days. The 3 weeks of vacation, I had to work here for 10 years to get.

Re:Yeah, but we're very productive (0, Offtopic)

TWX (665546) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557207)

Wow. I started with an accrual rate of 8hrs/month sick, 8hrs/month vacation, and being over ten years service, I now earn 12hrs/month vacation, sick accrual remaining the same. There's also little to no actual cap- once I cross 240hrs vacation accrued, at the end of the fiscal year the overage past 240 gets rolled into my sick time, so I just start taking sick time instead of vacation time.

Right now I have about 120hrs sick time and about 240hrs vacation time accrued. I've still got about 20 years before I can retire from this employer, and I have yet to have children, so I'm happy to let it bank now so that I have sick time available to deal with child illnesses, and vacation time available. I still take vacations, but I actually like my job, so I don't feel a massive need to escape as far away as possible either.

The real issue is that my wife doesn't accrue vacation time as fast as I do, and with her need to travel out-of-state to see her aging parents, she uses hers up much faster than I do mine, and she also accrues sick time like you do, in only paltry amounts. It's kind of pathetic how little sick time she gets, and everyone at the company is the same on that, so people just work sick.

Re:Yeah, but we're very productive (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557061)

Uh I know many whites who are in that very situation. Also he said that too "Even the relatively affluent can get fired or laid off at the drop of a hat in the USA."

You can go from earning 200k a year to living on welfare in under 2 years. I have seen many it has happened to.

Also is it systemic throughout the whole US or just regions (such as say new york which has a high population which messes with the results?). Compairing say the whole US to say Norway is not exactly a apples apples comparison...

Also keep in mind the US had an interesting thing about 70ish years ago. They had WW2. In Europe people hid from the guns and tried not to fight the germans as they were pretty much taken over by 'blitzkrieg'. In the US however we sifted thru all of our able bodied men and sent them off to fight leaving behind a less healthy group. Switzerland was nearly bending over backwards to not get into it. Where does say the U.K. fit in that list?

Or is this just a 'your healthcare/guns' suck article that is all the rage these days?

Re:Yeah, but we're very productive (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557125)

Uh I know many whites who are in that very situation. Also he said that too "Even the relatively affluent can get fired or laid off at the drop of a hat in the USA."

You can go from earning 200k a year to living on welfare in under 2 years. I have seen many it has happened to.

Also is it systemic throughout the whole US or just regions (such as say new york which has a high population which messes with the results?). Compairing say the whole US to say Norway is not exactly a apples apples comparison...

Also keep in mind the US had an interesting thing about 70ish years ago. They had WW2. In Europe people hid from the guns and tried not to fight the germans as they were pretty much taken over by 'blitzkrieg'. In the US however we sifted thru all of our able bodied men and sent them off to fight leaving behind a less healthy group. Switzerland was nearly bending over backwards to not get into it. Where does say the U.K. fit in that list?

Or is this just a 'your healthcare/guns' suck article that is all the rage these days?

You seem to be suggesting that there was a kind of perverse form of natural selection whereby the strong/fit were taken out of the gene pool due to an overseas war... Don't forget that the ones who DID survive came back and "boomed" out a ton of kids. The fit AND life-preserving among the gene pool made out quite nicely while the risk-prone were weeded out...

Re:Yeah, but we're very productive (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557195)

That's the most retarded thing I've ever seen.

The Yanks butchered Jap soldiers by the fucking shipload and nuked their fucking civilians. Japanese people are healthier and live longer then Americans.

The western Allies killed a whole lot of healthy able-bodied Jerries and firebombed the fuck out of their cities, which is NOTHING compared to what the Russians did to the Germans. German people are healthier and live longer then Americans.

The fucking Brits were in WW2 for years before the US got off their asses and involved themselves, how many of their able bodied Brits were thinned out over WW2? The UK is in a similar health situation to the US, better in some aspects and about the same in others.

Re:Yeah, but we're very productive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557013)

There are plenty of countries that work just as hard or harder.

Really though, maybe I'm just not closer enough to the mark (though I'm in my 30's and not really young anymore either), but I can't really say that I care too much about coming in last in this race when the numbers are all in the 70's and the difference between last and first is only 4 years of life expectancy. I think quality of life and enjoyment is far more important than 4 extra years at that age.

Re:Yeah, but we're very productive (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557023)

You think any Western country in the world wants to be like the US of 'murrka? You think we worry we may not be as productive as you? You think quality of life is your bank balance when you die? If you do, that's fine, of course, but not a view largely shared in Europe.

Re:Yeah, but we're very productive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557063)

Let me say I speak from experience.

I have worked with many nationalities (internationally) and Americans are by far the slowest and most ineffective workers.

You work hard, but only because you're so damn ineffective.

Re:Yeah, but we're very productive (2, Insightful)

tp1024 (2409684) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557099)

Yeah right. Amurricans are the best people in the world and if anybody else is simply doing things better, this is clearly just a figment of people's imagination, because the USA is the best country in the world.

Living in Eastern Germany, this sounds oddly familiar.

Re:Yeah, but we're very productive (5, Insightful)

comp.sci (557773) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557139)

While statistics do show that the US is uniquely productive, it certainly comes at a cost. You present this as a binary choice (Greek lifestyle VS US) whereas there are plenty of highly successful countries (think Germany or Switzerland) that work less. Most people likely can relate to this but for many white-collar jobs the number of hours worked dont correlate perfectly with productivity either.

Re:Yeah, but we're very productive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557141)

Have you ever looked into Marxism?

Re:Yeah, but we're very productive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557163)

yeah, course you are, my place is flooded with "MADE IN THE USA"

I'll admit you guys work crazy hours, but seeing as I compete with a number of American companies in my field and have done for 15 years, doesn't really compute that being paid a decent wage and allowed time off to actually live my life (1 hour lunches though, don't know anyone who gets a regular 3 hours) makes us less productive.

Basically you're saying that those guys across the pond are running flat out whilst I'm only jogging... and I'm STILL in the race... got to wonder what they're really doing, being busy or looking busy.

Re:Yeah, but we're very productive (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557165)

The US is top 10 per-capita GDP in the world. This of course includes the massive rural areas that our country has in the average. Whatever point you were trying to make, "we're not making much money" is baloney.

Incidentally, only 2 or 3 european countries beat us out: (Luxembourg and Norway consistently).

Near the bottom of the top 17 (2)

Grax (529699) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557175)

If we improve, the author can put us near the bottom of the top 5. Or maybe even near the bottom of the top 2. Perhaps we could even be the last of the first place finishers.

Re:Yeah, but we're very productive (5, Insightful)

SerpentMage (13390) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557215)

All that is missing is the chant USA USA USA!!!

I happen to come and live from the number one country, Switzerland. WE work for a living. You guys think you work, but you socialize quite a bit, as my many tell me that English speaker meetings run on, and on and on, and on! Our work week is 42.5 hours a week! We do not have the job protections like other European countries, though we are not quite as willy nilly in terms of firing as the US. Our's is a fine balance between the worker and the employee. Simply put to fire somebody you need a reason, other than "I don't like your face." We have private health care, but everyone is required to pay for it, and we have month long vacations. We have guns like the US, but we control them and try for the most part to make sure that bad people do not get them. Granted not always successful, but we have one the safest societies on this planet.

So stop whining, complaining, and chanting USA, USA, USA, poking fun at others and instead figure out how to improve your own country. Simply put MIND YOUR OWN BEESWAX!

Re:Yeah, but we're very productive (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557219)

Yes your owners will be very proud of your hard work and celebrate it with a nice sip of champagne on their super yacht, while they make fun of all the idiots that are paying for their free ride...

You definitely have the resources to better everyones life, it lays in the way a society spreads this resources among their people.

In the end money is just a way of spreading resources, work and natural ones. And I am all for rewarding work, but you should ask yourself can anyone really work a 1 000 000 times harder than you to deserve a million times more resources than you do? Maybe 10 times, maybe even 100 but a million, a billion or a trillion times?

So what am I advocating? It's definitely not Communism, I am not a fan of that, I am all for personal freedom, but a fair society. Where resources are shared according to what you really contribute to society.

Re:Yeah, but we're very productive (2)

jkflying (2190798) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557227)

In the rest of the world people don't insist on driving the biggest car, owning the newest $GADGET or having enormous houses with central heating. In the rest of the world earning $7.25/hr is a decent salary, and people are happy because they value their friends and their place in the community instead of envying the smiling models they see on TV. In the US you don't work for a *living*, you work for all of the bullshit that you have been convinced is necessary to have in order to be happy.

Switzerland (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42556865)

Switzerland tops the list, yet the authors criticize gun availability in the US?

Re:Switzerland (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42556889)

They specifically criticise American attitudes to firearms, and not the weapons themselves:

"widespread possession of firearms and the common practice of storing them (often unlocked) at home"

At the risk of sounding patronising, they're saying that if you didn't insist on handing out guns like free toasters and storing them like same, you could probably be trusted with them.

Re:Switzerland (5, Interesting)

semi-extrinsic (1997002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557009)

I agree, the rules for storage is where the US should introduce new legislation ASAP. Make it mandatory to keep your guns locked away, unloaded, and set up a program where for one year the government covers half the cost for anyone buying a gun locker (reasonably priced and conforming to some specification). I'd bet that the total benefit of such a program to society would be larger than the costs in a year or two.

To provide some statistics: this paper [nih.gov] found that in the 12 US states with laws regarding safe storage of guns at that time, there were 23% fewer unintentional shooting deaths among children under 15, and this finding was statistically significant.

Re:Switzerland (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42556911)

Has there been any mass shooting in Switzerland? No.

Totally different culture and better educated, that's why.

Re:Switzerland (1)

Dupple (1016592) | about a year and a half ago | (#42556967)

Well there was one about 11 years ago, but it was around 100 years since a politician was murdered and the biggest mass killing (14) in Switzerlands history

http://www.economist.com/node/807801 [economist.com]

Re:Switzerland (5, Insightful)

tmosley (996283) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557147)

Divide the number of switzerland sized areas in the US and you will find plenty that have had less mass shootings than Switzerland. These things don't happen every day. At least, not when it isn't convenient to the agendas of politicians. A coincidence I find quite disturbing, honestly.

Re:Switzerland (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557089)

Swiss are not batshit crazy.....

Re:Switzerland (1, Troll)

tmosley (996283) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557115)

Seems more likely that the cause for the difference is the lack of swimming pools in Switzerland, which are more likely to kill a member of their owners family than a firearm.

But hey, let's not let perspective keep us from wiping our asses with our founding documents.

Infant Mortality Rates (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42556869)

It's already been pointed out that the reason why the United States has "high" infant mortality is that we count ALL live births as a live birth. In some European countries, if the baby dies within a few minutes or a few hours it isn't counted as a live birth and therefore isn't part of the infant mortality numbers. In one country, I don't remember which one, if the baby dies with the first WEEK, it isn't counted as a live birth. So, yes, if you manipulate the numbers and redefine "live" birth, you can end up with a low infant mortality rate. On the other hand, if you count it as a live birth if the baby draws even a single breath or twitches, then your numbers do not mean the same thing.

Re:Infant Mortality Rates (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42556945)

Citation needed - reliable sources - for both sides.

Re:Infant Mortality Rates (4, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#42556961)

Only assuming that this US-based study completely failed to account for the differing definitions of those measures in different countries.

Re:Infant Mortality Rates (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42556995)

You seem to imply the EU countries are fiddling the books on the issue...

Wouldn't this report be grossly neglgent to to normalise its data before publishing?

It's an interesting angle but let's credit them with a little intelligence unless you have actual evidence they've failed to take this into account.

tl:dr

citation needed.

Re:Infant Mortality Rates (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557041)

bollox.

European stats are compiled by Eurostat.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurostat

Honestly, to think they would use different definitions for each country. Why, you must be american.

Don't worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42556875)

... but the birth rate is among the highest among developed countries. So there is nothing to worry about :)

oh goodie another gun post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42556879)

here comes another 1000 post long flamefest about guns.

seriously slashdot. you are just posting these to troll gun owners and increase page views right?

perfect catchpa = panicked :)

Obligatory xkcd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42556885)

http://xkcd.com/418/

Conversation derailed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42556893)

Conversation derailed before it starts, to the availability of guns. It's in the summary.

America is the country of big pharma, big macs and big guns (and big pollution even if it greatly depends on pop density), but do incidents make up for the difference with other countries? Switzerland has guns too and tops the health chart, after all.

But the U.S. is still #1 in the world! (5, Interesting)

fullback (968784) | about a year and a half ago | (#42556899)

#1 The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world and the largest total prison population on earth.

#2 The United States has the highest percentage of obese people in the world.

#3 The United States has the highest divorce rate on the globe by a wide margin.

#4 The United States is tied with the U.K. for the most hours of television watched per person each week.

#5 The United States has the highest rate of illegal drug use on the entire planet.

#6 There are more car thefts in the United States each year than anywhere else in the world by far.

#7 There are more reported rapes in the United States each year than anywhere else in the world.

#8 There are more reported murders in the United States each year than anywhere else in the world.

#9 There are more total crimes in the United States each year than anywhere else in the world.

#10 The United States also has more police officers than anywhere else in the world.

#11 The United States spends much more on health care as a percentage of GDP than any other nation on the face of the earth.

#12 The United States has more people on pharmaceutical drugs than any other country on the planet.

#13 The percentage of women taking antidepressants in America is higher than in any other country in the world.

#14 Americans have more student loan debt than anyone else in the world.

#15 More pornography is created in the United States than anywhere else on the entire globe. Eighty nine percent is made in the U.S.A. and only 11 percent is made in the rest of the world.

#16 The United States has the largest trade deficit in the world every single year. Between December 2000 and December 2010, the United States ran a total trade deficit of 6.1 trillion dollars with the rest of the world, and the U.S. has had a negative trade balance every single year since 1976.

#17 The United States spends 7 times more on the military than any other nation on the planet does. In fact, U.S. military spending is greater than the military spending of China, Russia, Japan, India, and the rest of NATO combined.

#18 The United States has far more foreign military bases than any other country does.

#19 The United States has the most complicated tax system in the entire world.

#20 The U.S. has accumulated the biggest national debt that the world has ever seen and it is rapidly getting worse. Right now, U.S. government debt is expanding at a rate of $40,000 per second.

Re:But the U.S. is still #1 in the world! (2, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42556997)

#3 The United States has the highest divorce rate on the globe by a wide margin.

Is that a bad thing? It's good for people to bail rather than stick out something crap for the long haul.

#4 The United States is tied with the U.K. for the most hours of television watched per person each week.

I'd be willing to bet we have more black and white TVs, too [theregister.co.uk]

#15 More pornography is created in the United States than anywhere else on the entire globe. Eighty nine percent is made in the U.S.A. and only 11 percent is made in the rest of the world.

Not sure if you're putting this forward as a pro or con. Please clarify.

#20 The U.S. has accumulated the biggest national debt that the world has ever seen and it is rapidly getting worse.

It's also the largest economy, and many economies run at a defecit. The result that it hsa the largest debt is therefore not surprising.

Re:But the U.S. is still #1 in the world! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557047)

The US are also the biggest assholes in the world, and the most likely to say "let them eat cake" about their own poor as long as the wealthy don't have to see them.

A society in decline.

Re:But the U.S. is still #1 in the world! (1)

zildgulf (1116981) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557205)

But hasn't the US always had this idea of "screw the poor"? I submit that blaming people for their own poverty has always been the American way. In the 18th and 19th Centuries the idea was to take those less fortunate and throw them land in the middle of hostile Indian territory. We didn't even have to give these people anything to get them to go, just the idea of "Manifest Destiny" and they would pool their resources to trek in the most hostile lands imaginable in the hopes of being land owners or getting rich off of the gold rush.

Re:But the U.S. is still #1 in the world! (5, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557081)

#15 More pornography is created in the United States than anywhere else on the entire globe. Eighty nine percent is made in the U.S.A. and only 11 percent is made in the rest of the world.

So it's not all bad news!

Re:But the U.S. is still #1 in the world! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557109)

For all of those "US has more reported X than anywhere else in the world" stats you have to remember that the US rivals EUROPE in total population. So yeah, it'd probably have more reported crimes.

As for military spending, the US military spending rate is the /reason/ its allies spend so little. We've shown we're willing to spend it, so why would anyone else bother?

Re:But the U.S. is still #1 in the world! (2, Informative)

blueg3 (192743) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557191)

#20 The U.S. has accumulated the biggest national debt that the world has ever seen

Only because we have such large economy. If you scale by GDP, we don't even have the biggest debt that we've ever seen -- and plenty of countries are currently worse-off.

It would be just as valid to say that the Eurozone has the biggest debt the world has ever seen.

Right now, U.S. government debt is expanding at a rate of $40,000 per second.

That's a completely meaningless figure. On the scale of first-world national economies, $40k is tiny. A second is also tiny. It's a less useful measurement than a light-nanosecond. Maybe as useful as a barn-parsec.

Re:But the U.S. is still #1 in the world! (5, Informative)

tmosley (996283) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557199)

You really ought to normalize your numbers for population. The US is a pretty big country, and there are a lot of other countries where I would feel a lot less comfortable about walking down the street at night, or worse, having a woman walk down the street at night.

Re:But the U.S. is still #1 in the world! (3, Informative)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557253)

In case anyone was wondering, most of those aren't true. The car theft one especially is bullshit.

What's New. Wall Street Wants it That Way. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42556903)

Of course our life is much shorter here. Wall Street has set things up so they take ALL our money, especially when it comes to things like hospitalization. They want us to slowly get cancer, so we can spend the vast amount of money we accumulate the last 50 days of our lives. Personally, I'd blame the lobby, corrupt political structure, and the VERY corrupt FDA.

Gun? *facepalm* (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42556905)

Switzerland is at the top and has tremendous amounts of gun ownership. Our life expectancy is due to our crappy healthcare system and even worse access to it, high infant mortality, rampant poverty, lack of safety nets, etc. Oh and our obsession with fast food doesn't help either.

Ownership AND storage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42556949)

"...and the common practice of storing them (often unlocked) at home" being an important piece of information.

Re:Ownership AND storage (2)

tmosley (996283) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557259)

But that is still less dangerous than swimming pools, yet there is no uproar or outrage over that. Why aren't we implementing swimming pool regulation? Do swimming pool owners really have any business not fencing their pools? Given that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, we really ought to direct our focus elsewhere.

Re:Gun? *facepalm* (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557101)

Switzerland's "gun ownership" rate is not that high. Those guns are owned by the military, and there is rigorous control and training connected with them. Yes, they form part of what makes it expensive to attack the Swiss militarily. They are not employed for personal defense, however.

The Swiss very much exercise gun control.

bibendums (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42556913)

It must be partly because the USA is a nation of bibendums. In fact, so much that "bibendum" is a colloquialism for USAian in many parts of the world, as in, "three bibendums came into my cafe this afternoon and each ate enough to support a small village for a week".

Being so fat impacts health in many negative ways. In most countries you don't see such a high percentage of people who for example need a motorized cart to propel themselves through a store because they cannot do it under their own power.

It's a bad sad to see a whole country eating itself to an early grave.

Quality of years, not quantity (0)

scorp1us (235526) | about a year and a half ago | (#42556919)

I for one think that if out life expectancy were shorter we'd try to pack more in to our years. There is no point in living your last 5 or so years in a home. You become a cost center, bringing down the lives of everyone around you, save for the geriatric nursing industry.

In fact I think they should skew it all to the shortest life expectancy so that everything after is a bonus. Just like Stephen hawking. "My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus."
  Stephen Hawking

Re:Quality of years, not quantity (5, Interesting)

WegianWarrior (649800) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557019)

Knowing several people in various states in the US, ranging from middle-aged to old... I'm anything but convinced. It seems to me that compared to Norwegians (and most likely to everyone in Northern Europe) you work harder for longer for less pay, and have less to show for it at the end of your life. I don't think that most people enjoys working 60-80 hours a week, knowing that they can't afford to retire... meaning they will work until they drop dead.

To quote a comment that arose over a Christmas dinner a few years ago; "What do you call retired people in the states?" "Greeters at WalMart."

The plural of "stuff I know" isn't data, but in this case it seems like the data is backing up the stuff I know. You don't "pack more into your years" - you're worn out faster by an system built to benefit the rich, and even the rich seems overall less happy than most people I see over on my end.

Re:Quality of years, not quantity (5, Informative)

Sique (173459) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557077)

Interestingly though (and contrairy to your comment), most of the reasons why life expectancy is lower in the U.S. happens before the age of 50. So the probability of a newborn child to even come to an age of 50 is lower than in any other of the 17 countries. So it's not the last 5 years that are important here (if you ever get 75 in the U.S., your life expectancy is on par with the rest of the countries), it's the deaths occuring before the age of 50 that make the numbers so miserable.

This report is racist (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42556921)

Life expectancy has shot up to over 100 years since January 2009.

If you disagree with that Truth, you are racist.

In other news ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42556935)

... bears shit in the woods, the Pope is a Catholic, ect ect,

Guns, junk food, and driving if you need to travel ten yards down the road. Is anyone surprised?

Let the denial begin... (1, Funny)

Stuarticus (1205322) | about a year and a half ago | (#42556947)

Blah blah infant mortality rate first breath.

Guns are safe, only insane people kill people.



Did I miss anything out?

Re:Let the denial begin... (1)

tmosley (996283) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557283)

Blah blah constitutional rights blah blah slippery slope blah blah anal rape by g-men on the streetcorner blah blah blah.

Probably? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42556951)

One behavior that probably explains the excess lethality of violence and unintentional injuries in the United States is the widespread possession of firearms and the common practice of storing them (often unlocked) at home,

Excuse me?! This doesn't sound like science to me at all, and despite my agreement with the conclusion, disqualifies the researchers.

Re:Probably? (1)

Sique (173459) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557119)

But the numbers of death by firearm is five times as high in the U.S. than in any other of the 17 countries. This sounds like a fact. And the most likely reason for that fact is easy availability of firearms to everyone in the U.S., which has probably to do with a) the high numbers of firearms in the first place and b) with the easy availability of those to people who gonna go shooting. Or put it in more scientific terms: "widespread possession of firearms and the common practice of storing them (often unlocked) at home".

Finally a proper analysis (4, Insightful)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about a year and a half ago | (#42556955)

This is the kind of analysis I have been wondering about. Since most of the previous studies done in this area don't seem to try to factor thing like the large number of American fat asses or smokers or other choice items. While it appears to do a better job of trying to factor out some of the issues it doesn't look like it manages to do all of them or I might need to read it in more detail. But it looks like there is some good evidence that our health care system does really kind of suck unless you can afford the Mayo Clinic or other premier hospitals.

Common Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42556969)

Well, if we would just stop clubbing and knifing each other to death, like the rest of the gun-confiscated developed world, we wouldn't be dying so much, would we?

junk science (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42556971)

Doesn't the fact that the Swiss have a very high rate of gun ownership and the highest life expectancies negate their (idiotic) hypothesis that guns might account for the lowered life expectancies in the US? The accident rate for guns is actually quite low compared to many other types of accidental death (auto accidents, etc.).

Since when did "scientists" get to editorialize in their research papers and make wild guesses in the closing paragraphs? Oh, but this isn't science is it.....

 

Re:junk science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557087)

Your objections might have been justified if you had at least read the summary properly.
It is the combination of gun ownership and inappropriate handling and storage.
In Switzerland the guns generally stay at home, safely locked away. They are rarely used for entertainment, personal protection and whatever other reasons are common in the US.
Plus those are real, heavy guns. Not handguns which actually tend to be more dangerous to the general public (which is why I find the automatic weapon ban a questionable move. Forbidding handguns might be more effective and more in line with what the constitution had in mind. Not to mention it would mostly "solve" the concealed carry issues).

Well, herp a derp (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | about a year and a half ago | (#42556975)

Urban sprawl, no exercise, a diet loaded with sugar, salt and hormones, and the only people who can afford to see a doctor are the lawyers who just sued them for malpractice.

30,000 killed by firearms, 31,000 by poisoning (5, Insightful)

scorp1us (235526) | about a year and a half ago | (#42556985)

18,735 - suicide by firearm
11,493 - murder by firearm
554 - killed from accidental firearm discharge

31,578 - accidental death from poisoning

All of these numbers pale in comparison to this:
108,000 - killed from adverse prescription drug reactions.

Clearly the firearms angle is over stated.We should be banning doctors.

Re:30,000 killed by firearms, 31,000 by poisoning (4, Insightful)

Bigby (659157) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557091)

For those unaware with the size of the US.

0.006% suicide by firearm
0.0037% murder by firearm
0.000179% death by firearm accident

0.0102% accidental poisoning
0.0348% prescription drug reactions

But murder = murder. What are the murder rates by any weapon/methodology? I care if I lose my life, not by what mechanism.

Re:30,000 killed by firearms, 31,000 by poisoning (5, Funny)

cffrost (885375) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557267)

I care if I lose my life, not by what mechanism.

Seriously? I'd much rather be killed by rifle head-shot or morphine overdose than, say, stuffed into a pizza oven or eaten alive by rats.

Obvious answer is to BAN ASSAULT RIFLES!!! (0, Troll)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about a year and a half ago | (#42556991)

Seems to be the thing our government is so intent on doing. It's all because of the guns! Forget about the 20k suicides per year.. Forget about our piss poor health care system.. forget about the fact that we take immigrants in and treat them better than our own.. Forget about the fact that 60% of American are obese. It's all the guns fault

No, it's ANYTHING BUT THE GUNS!1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557247)

It's the fault of the video games! It's because we don't pray in the schools! It's ANYTHING BUT THE GUNS!1

It's probably (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557005)

not because of guns since everyone seems to jump on the gun issue lately. 11,000 murders might seem like a lot but that's out of 300,000,000+ people.

It's probably these:
1) Lots of immigrants in this country - legal and not legal - especially compared with the rest of the developed world which tends to shun them. These immigrants are probably not the epitome of health like the Swiss. They're more likely to be from the poor regions of Mexico or Central/Southern America. So that averages it down. Yes I read the non-Hispanic whites, read on...
2) Fast food. I think it's more frowned upon in Europe to go out and especially to go out and eat not-really-food that you get from McD's, Burger King, etc, but people in this country probably go at least once a week if not more. Lots of poor people go to these places and don't need to be Hispanic to eat there.
3) Obesity. We're "leading" on that bulging front so it's no surprise.
4) Poor healthcare. People can't afford good healthcare and good doctors especially in the last few years. There are also issues with high levels of stress (scrounging up to save for the latest iCrap vs. buying real food).
5) Income disparity. I don't really care if rich people make a lot more money but the average American salary isn't enough to live properly and I'm not talking about unnecessary purchases, I'm talking about making sure you eat healthy food and that your live is good enough to exercise instead of sitting on the couch after a hard day of doing work you hate and having some pizza because you don't care about anything.
6) Cars rule. Europe is more of a bike nation because it's so relatively tiny and I've seen people here take a car for a store a mile away. This contributes to obesity. There are similar factors about smoking, drugs, etc.

Summary: lots of poor people in poor health, lots of immigrants, lots of idle fat people, lots of drugged up people (legal drugs or not).

Re:It's probably (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557201)

5) Income disparity. I don't really care if rich people make a lot more money but the average American salary isn't enough to live properly and I'm not talking about unnecessary purchases, I'm talking about making sure you eat healthy food and that your live is good enough to exercise instead of sitting on the couch after a hard day of doing work you hate and having some pizza because you don't care about anything.

Care to cite that? Most people who complain that they don't make enough money to live, really mean that they don't make enough money to buy stupid consumer electronics. What's wrong with our incomes is that we, somewhere along the way, decided that want = need.

Centenarians (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557011)

The US is 3rd in per capita centenarians. If the other countries health care was so much better than ours, you would expect the US be lagging far behind, not at the top.

Re:Centenarians (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557113)

The US is 3rd in per capita centenarians. If the other countries health care was so much better than ours, you would expect the US be lagging far behind, not at the top.

I believe TFA explicitly said that IF an American reached a certain age, their chances of living considerably longer were better. Then they mentioned the problem with that. In the USA, fewer people WOULD reach that certain age.

Wrong category: "affluent" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557053)

Have you looked at the national debt? Or the human rights records? Or the education system where religious fanaticism has to be taught and grade equal to science?

If you don't throw the U.S. in with the developed countries, it fares rather well, apart from the massive debts.

some quotes (5, Interesting)

buddyglass (925859) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557065)

From the article:

The shorter life expectancy for Americans largely was attributed to high mortality for men under age 50, from car crashes, accidents and violence.

"Our health as Americans is only partly aided by having a very good health-care system," he said. "Much of our health disadvantage comes from factors outside of the clinical system and outside of what doctors and hospitals can do."

The authors noted that Americans who lived past age 75 had higher survival rates compared with similar countries, and Americans overall had better rates of surviving cancer and strokes.

This Again? (-1, Troll)

clonehappy (655530) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557071)

'One behavior that probably explains the excess lethality of violence and unintentional injuries in the United States is the widespread possession of firearms and the common practice of storing them (often unlocked) at home,' reads the report. 'The statistics are dramatic.'

I'm about done with Slashdot. This is actually passing as a legitimate story, even though it's obviously another thinly veiled hit piece on guns? Ever heard the saying "Don't feed the trolls?"

Apples to oranges (2, Insightful)

llZENll (545605) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557073)

How can you compare the USA with a population of 350M to Switzerland of 8M, we have CITIES with more people! Now maybe if you compared US states vs Switzerland I guarantee you things would shake out quite differently. Also its very amusing the number one reason they cite is gun violence, this is propaganda pumping the public full of bullshit to pass gun control. Perhaps they should ban clubs and hammers, since more people die every year due them as one report recently found. And then there's the other study that found any time you ban or limit guns violent crimes increase.

Re:Apples to oranges (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557245)

I suggest you read a book on statistics.

I also suggest you read the summary as the issue isn't guns, the swiss have guns, it's about the fact that you don't care about how you keep them (i.e. not safely nor securely) which leads to accidents.

This must be down to the (3, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557127)

This must be down to the corporate "death squads" who decide who will get treatment and who won't.

Re:This must be down to the (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557231)

Lol, wut :/

Gun (ab)use (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557151)

Well, with about 80 kills per day involving firearms the US of A is more dangerous than most of the war zones in the world, comparably to the civil war in Syria or worse than the Egyptian revolution.

So if some gun loony kills twenty kids in a primary school, this is not really upsetting that days gun kill stats in the land of the free.

Live fast, die young (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557181)

Live fast, die young and leave a good looking corpse. - Nick Romano

Guns? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557211)

I'm all for the banning of assault rifles and selling any gun (or ammunition) without background checks... ...but I can't imagine that gun-related deaths significantly effects the life expectancy rate in the U.S. (Maybe in places like Somalia and Afghanistan?)

Way to take an interesting article and make it even more decisive.

It's all China's fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557237)

For not exporting health care to Americans that the populace can afford.

Infant mortality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42557251)

I'm so tired of seeing this. Not everyone counts infant mortality in the same way, even in developed countries. When you account fo those differences, the US is not anywhere near the bottom. You are not comparing apples to apples.

It IS the inequality (5, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557271)

There's plenty of research, showing that high income inequality will lead to lower life expectancy, and not just among the poor.

The more economically unequal a society becomes, everybody gets more sick, even the 1%.

And it's not just physical health. There is more mental illness the more inequality grows. You know, craziness, like the kind that would make a 20 year-old kid kill his mom and 20 six and seven year-olds.

There are so many measurements of the health of a society that degrade as income inequality grow, it's not surprising that a growing number of very wealthy people are in favor of having their own tax rates go up and the social safety net made stronger. Some are even starting to take better care of their employees at the cost of stock price (the "market" hates it when workers get paid more). Costco is an example of this. Wages go up and employees get better health care and other benefits and the financial elite say, "What a chump. What's wrong with that guy, anyway, is he some kind of fucking commie?" (If you think I'm kidding about this, check out some of the stories about Costco in the Wall Street Journal or on CNBC. The CEO's name is James Sinegal, and he's decided to earn less than $500k. Wall Street hates the dude because they're afraid he's going to start some kind of trend where bonuses go down and then they won't be able to afford that new infinity pool in their houses in St Lucia.)

Don't worry about us (1)

JoeFromPhilly (792856) | about a year and a half ago | (#42557279)

That's all right. We just live fast and die young baby. The streets are littered with our overweight corpses.
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