Wednesday, December 3, 2008

U.S. Life Expectancy—Not as Good as it Should Be

From The Today Show ... the U.S. lags behind 27 other developed nations in terms of life expectancy, according to the annual report from the United Health Foundation. Dr. Nancy Snyderman credits it to obesity, smoking, and lack of health insurance.

According to the same study, we spend more money on health care than most of the nations that outrank us in terms of life expectancy. So where's the disconnect?

One popular theory, and one Dr. Snyderman hints at in the piece, is that America spends a lot of money on heroic measures, using expensive new equipment and experimental procedures, more often than just focusing on preventive medicine.

Another theory is that we spend too much on the last years of life, putting too many health-care dollars into prolonging life by a few months or years with dramatic, expensive effort, rather than keeping ourselves healthier while younger.

You can go here to see the original study results and a state-by-state ranking.

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