March 12, 2013

162017_132140396847214_292624_nIn 2000, the World Health Organization (“WHO”) ranked the U.S. health care system as 37th in the world. In 2012, WHO ranked the U.S. 29th of the 193 reporting nations for life expectancy (life expectancy is defined as the number of years that a newborn can expect to live). Life expectancy in the U.S. in 2012 was 81 years for women and 76 for men, compared to 86 years for women and 80 for men in Japan, which was the country with the highest life expectancy.

There is even more bad news for life expectancy in the U.S.: the life expectancy rates in 1,406 U.S. counties are now further behind those of developing nations than they were 7 years earlier (33 U.S. counties for men and 8 U.S. counties for women exceed the average life expectancy of the 10 leading nations but the great majority of U.S. counties lag behind these other nations – 92 U.S. counties for men and 2 U.S. counties for women have life expectancy rates similar to those experienced  by other leading nations back in 1957 or earlier).

The infant mortality rate for the U.S. in 2011 was 6 deaths per 1,000 live births, ranking the U.S. 40th among the 193 nations that reported to WHO (Denmark, Portugal, Italy, Germany, France, Czech Republic, Norway, and Ireland reported infant mortality rates at half the U.S. rate). And the mortality rate before the age of 75 in the U.S. is 50% higher than in Australia, France, Japan, and Italy.

Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. About one-third of the world’s population is inactive (40% of the U.S. population is physically inactive). Physical inactivity is responsible for an estimated 6% to 10% of non-communicable diseases that include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, and colon cancer, and it is responsible for 9% of premature deaths (5.3 million deaths in 2008).

Per capita health care spending in the United States continues to lead the world at over $8,000 per person, compared to about $3,000 per person in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (“OECD”) nations (the annual growth rate of spending in the U.S. from 2000 through 2010 was 4.3%, which was slightly under the average of 4.7% among OECD nations). The U.S. exceeds the OECD nations in utilization of health care: 25% of adults are taking at least 4 prescriptions regularly in the U.S. compared to a median of 17% among OECD nations; the rate of MRI exams in the U.S. is 91 MRI exams per 100,000 population compared to under 50 MRI exams per 100,000 population in the other 5 reporting countries.

The U.S. ranks among the worst OECD countries for child health well-being and also has the highest index of health and social problems compared to other wealthy nations.

The U.S. ranks among the 10 heaviest countries – North America has 34% of the world’s biomass due to obesity but only makes up 6% of the world population whereas Asia has 61% of the world population but only 13% percent of its biomass due to obesity.

Source  America’s Health Rankings ©2012 United Health Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

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