March 10, 2013

162017_132140396847214_292624_nOf the four major factors that influence the public’s health in the United States, behavioral factors contribute 40%, genetics contribute 30%, social circumstances contribute 15%, medical care contributes 10%, and environmental conditions contribute 5%. It is a sad fact that today’s youth in the U.S. may be the first generation to live shorter lives and less healthy lives than their parents. It is also a sobering fact that many people in the U.S. suffer for decades from preventable and costly chronic conditions, such as diabetes.

Obesity in the U.S. is at an epidemic level: obesity costs the U.S. between $147 billion and $210 billion each year (obesity is the leading medical reason why young men and women fail to qualify for military service).

The U.S. spends over $750 billion each year for hospital care – hospital care is the largest component of health care spending in the U.S.  Preventable hospitalizations, which are defined as hospital admissions that may be preventable with high quality primary and preventive care, reflect how efficiently a population uses the various health care delivery options for necessary care. Preventable hospitalizations have declined over the last 11 years, from 82.5 to 66.6 admissions per 1,000 Medicare enrollees. Nonetheless, preventable hospitalizations often occur as a result of a failure to treat conditions early in an outpatient setting due to limited availability. Preventable hospitalizations reflect the tendency for a population to overuse the hospital setting as a site for care and are more common in those who are uninsured, which often leads to large unpaid medical bills.

In 2000, almost 5 million admissions to U.S. hospitals involved treatment for one or more potentially preventable conditions, at a cost  more of more than $26.5 billion. Assuming an average cost of $5,300 per admission, a 5% decrease in the rate of preventable hospitalizations in the U.S. could result in a cost savings of more than $1.3 billion.

Health Successes In The U.S.

Occupational Fatalities

Occupational fatalities have declined in the last 5 years, from 5.3 deaths in 2007 to 4.1 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2012 (the 2011 rate was 4.0 deaths per 100,000 workers). The rates are the lowest in 23 years.

Air Pollution

The average amount of fine particulate in the air continues to decline from 13.2 micrograms in 2003 to 10.5 micrograms per cubic meter in 2012.

Infectious Disease

Infectious disease has dropped from 19.7 cases in 1998 to 12.4 cases per 100,000 population in 2012 (however, the incidence remains above the rate of 9.0 cases in 2009 and 2010 and 10.3 cases per 100,000 population in 2011).

Infant Mortality

The infant mortality rate decreased 36% from 10.2 deaths in 1990 to 6.5 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2012. Compared to the 1990s, improvements have slowed dramatically in the last 12 years (infant mortality improved significantly in the 1990s but has largely stagnated between 6.5 and 7.0 deaths per 1,000 live births for the last ten years).

Premature Death

Since 1990, there has been an 18% decline from 8,716 years of potential life lost before age 75 per 100,000 population to 7,151 years of potential life lost before age 75 per 100,000 population in 2012. Premature deaths, like several other metrics, have leveled off in the last decade compared to gains in the 1990s.

Cardiovascular Deaths

Since 1990, cardiovascular deaths have declined 35%, from 405.1 deaths in 1990 to 264.9 deaths per 100,000 population in 2012. This continues a relatively constant improvement of 2% to 3% each year.

Cancer Deaths

Cancer deaths declined 8% from 197.5 deaths in 1990 to 182.5 deaths per 100,000 population in 2012. This continues to show a more rapid improvement in the last few years than earlier in the 2000s.

Violent Crime

At 404 offenses per 100,000 population, violent crime is 34% lower than in 1990 and 47% lower than its peak in 1993.

Life Expectancy

Between 1900 and 2009, the life expectancy at birth increased by 31.2 years, from 47.3 years in 1900 to 78.5 years of life in 2009. From 2000 to 2009, it increased by 1.7 years, from 76.8 years in 2000 to 78.5 years in 2009.

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

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