Americans Die Sooner Than People in 12 Other Countries

Lisa Schulmeister

Researchers analyzed mortality data and found that Americans die sooner than people in other countries.

Wondering why? You’ll be surprised at the answer.

Researchers at Columbia University in New York City recently analyzed mortality data for the

US and 12 other highly developed countries and found that Americans die sooner than people living in the other countries. This statistic begs the question of why Americans die sooner and conjures up thoughts of crime, car wrecks, and smoking and obesity-linked diseases. However, much to everyone’s surprise, the most likely answer is that Americans die sooner because of poor health care.

The researchers found that since 1980, 15-year survival rates for men and women aged 45-65 have fallen in the US when compared to survival rates in the other 12 countries."In 1950, the United States was fifth among the leading industrialized nations with respect to female life expectancy at birth, surpassed only by Sweden, Norway, Australia, and the Netherlands," the researchers noted. The US is now 46th in female life expectancy; 49th for both men and women.

Lead author of the study, Peter Muennig, reported that the researchers took into account factors such as crime, smoking, accidents and obesity. They concluded that the US healthcare system is more likely to blame for the lag in survival rates.

Data from healthcare expenditures were used to reach this conclusion. Health care costs in the US are roughly double those of other countries, yet the US healthcare delivery system may be less efficient and deliver lower quality. Other countries’ governments also provide universal health insurance, which may help prevent illness and disease. The full report of study findings were published in Health Affairs.

One interesting finding from the study was that healthcare costs went up in all of the countries studied, so the US is not alone in having to deal with higher healthcare expenditures.