Judging by healthcare expenditures alone (we spend BY FAR more than any other country, both per capita and percentage of GDP), USA should be the healthiest nation in the world, with the best medicine available. But it isn’t! American health care and health of Americans fare unfavorably in comparison with other developed nations.
In a 2014 study of health care (including infant mortality, healthy life expectancy, and mortality from preventable conditions) in 11 advanced industrial countries, the Commonwealth Fund concluded that the United States ranked last among them (behind United Kingdom, Germany, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, and others). According to the World Health Organization, the U.S. health care system ranks 37th in the world. Other Studies reach somewhat different conclusions, but all are very unflattering to the United States, as are studies of American health in general. The United States, for example, has one of the world’s worst cancer rates, and life expectancy is declining compared to other advanced nations.
Oh, you might say, it’s because Europeans have better cheese! They produce wonders of real cheese like Brie, Gruyere, and Feta. While we have this yellow nondescript foodstuff that bears the name of “American Cheese” and that I personally never found to be worthy of my palate. 🙂
Or, you might say, it’s because Europeans have healthier sex attitudes! In most cases, European politician’s extramarital affairs tend not to mean all that much to voters. While an American politician who has cheated is forced to cry in public about his infidelity, making the story even more sad than it ever was interesting. 🙂
While I can’t underestimate the value and health-promotion of good cheese and good sex (wink :)), the major factor that makes a difference, I believe, is preventive care and preventive medicine. You all heard the old saying that a pound of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you look into it, most European healthcare organizations echo The European Association of Predictive, Preventive, and Personalized Medicine that emphasizes that a well-timed individualized prevention is critical not only in the primary prevention of disease, but also in the secondary prevention of disease progression, tertiary prevention of serious complications from treatments, and quaternary prevention of mortality in the face of serious illness. If you look into it further, you will see how natural forms of prevention are widely embraced in other nations, and that in Denmark alone for example, 51% of men and 65.8% of women take dietary supplements as a preventive measure.
But if you look into USA “preventive medicine” services, you’ll see that almost every single such service is some type of disease screening, chemicals, or counseling for a condition you already have. We’re eager to embrace pricey (and often harmful) screenings for illnesses we may or may not already have, counseling and medical treatments in the form of toxic pills or invasive surgeries, but we’re not willing to consider that maybe our healthcare paradigm needs to be changed – from disease care to health care.
I hope to be the voice (along with others) that brings that change – the change that emphasizes health, healthful lifestyle, nourishing nutrition, and vitamin supplementation.