Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Americans have higher rates of most chronic diseases than same-age counterparts in England

Date:
March 11, 2011
Source:
Oxford University Press
Summary:
Despite the high level of spending on health care in the United States compared to England, Americans experience higher rates of chronic disease and markers of disease than their English counterparts at all ages. Why health status differs so dramatically in these two countries, which share much in terms of history and culture, is a mystery.

Researchers have announced in the American Journal of Epidemiology that despite the high level of spending on healthcare in the United States compared to England, Americans experience higher rates of chronic disease and markers of disease than their English counterparts at all ages. Why health status differs so dramatically in these two countries, which share much in terms of history and culture, is a mystery.

The study uses data from two nationally representative surveys (see information at end of article) to compare the health of residents of the United States and England from 0 to 80 years, focusing on a number of chronic conditions and markers of disease. This research builds on previous studies by other scholars that focused primarily on older adults.

"A systematic assessment of cross-country differences in health by age group and type of condition provides necessary context for learning about why older residents of England suffer fewer chronic health conditions than their counterparts in the US," notes Melissa L. Martinson, Office of Population Research, Princeton University.

Health measures based on physical examinations and/or laboratory reports included the following risk factors or conditions: obesity, hypertension, diabetes, low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, high cholesterol ratio, and high C-reactive protein* in addition to self-reported health issues. These are the same measures that were used in other recent analyses that compared health of older adults in the two countries.

Differences between the two countries are statistically significant for every condition except hypertension. The results were not sensitive to alternative definitions of hypertension and are consistent with previous findings of lower rates of hypertension in the United States than in England. The disease prevalence for the self-reported conditions (i.e. asthma, heart attack, angina, and stroke) is largely consistent with country reports and other previous studies.

Comparisons by age group indicate that most cross-country differences in health conditions and markers of disease at young ages are as large as those at older ages. This is the case for obesity, low HDL cholesterol, high cholesterol ratio, high C-reactive protein, hypertension (for females), diabetes, asthma, heart attack or angina (for females), and stroke (for females). For males, heart attack or angina is higher in the United States only at younger ages, and hypertension is higher in England than in the United States at young ages.

Higher rates of screening for some conditions, the greater use of certain healthcare procedures, and higher survival rates for cerebrovascular disease in the United States may represent partial explanations. However, given that the United States has higher age-specific mortality for every age group (except for those 65 or older), these differences cannot fully account for the observed cross-country differences in health conditions and markers of disease.

The allocation of health care resources may play a role. Despite the greater use of health care technology in the United States, Americans receive less preventive health care than their English counterparts. They have fewer physician consultations per year. Acute hospital visits are also shorter in the United States, potentially resulting in missed opportunities for follow-up. It is also possible that the cross-country differences in social or physical environmental conditions or lifestyle play a role.

*Obesity was calculated for respondents between 4 and 80 years of age, C-reactive protein, an index of inflammation, was measured for respondents between 18 and 80 years of age, and the other conditions were measured for individuals at least 12 years of age.

About the studies used in the article: Data were from the 1999-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys for the US (n=39,849) and the 2003-2006 Health Surveys for England (n=69,084).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oxford University Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. L. Martinson, J. O. Teitler, N. E. Reichman. Health Across the Life Span in the United States and England. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2011; DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwq325

Cite This Page:

Oxford University Press. "Americans have higher rates of most chronic diseases than same-age counterparts in England." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110309073721.htm>.
Oxford University Press. (2011, March 11). Americans have higher rates of most chronic diseases than same-age counterparts in England. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110309073721.htm
Oxford University Press. "Americans have higher rates of most chronic diseases than same-age counterparts in England." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110309073721.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) Doctors once thought artificial sweeteners lacked the health risks of sugar, but a new study says they can impact blood sugar levels the same way. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Trial Gets Underway at Oxford University

Ebola Vaccine Trial Gets Underway at Oxford University

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) A healthy British volunteer is to become the first person to receive a new vaccine for the Ebola virus after US President Barack Obama called for action against the epidemic and warned it was "spiralling out of control." Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obesity Rates Steady Even As Americans' Waistlines Expand

Obesity Rates Steady Even As Americans' Waistlines Expand

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) Researchers are puzzled as to why obesity rates remain relatively stable as average waistlines continue to expand. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins