Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

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

09.03.2011
Researchers announced today 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 info below) 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 (see study for details). 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).

The NHANES is a comprehensive survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics in the United States continuously since 1999 (8). For our analyses, data from all available years of the continuous survey were used. Of the 41,474 observations from 1999-2006, 1,625 were excluded, leaving an analysis sample of 39,849 observations between the ages of 0 and 80 years. Respondents older than 80 years were not included due to a lack of comparability between the NHANES and HSE for this age group (NHANES includes age in one-year increments for those over 80, while the over-80 age group is top coded in the HSE, making it impossible to know the age distribution of the over-80 age group in that survey). Sample sizes vary across health measures because several conditions were assessed only for certain age groups.

The HSE is an annual cross-sectional survey of private households in England conducted by the Joint Health Surveys Unit of the National Centre for Social Research (9). For our analyses, the 2003-2006 surveys were used because starting in 2003 appropriate weights are available to make the data nationally representative when multiple years are pooled together. The number of respondents in the 2003-2006 surveys was 71,717. Our primary analysis sample included 69,084 observations after 2,633 observations for those older than 80 years were dropped. However, some biological measures were collected from representative subsamples of approximately half of all respondents.

For any additional information, or to speak with any of the researchers associated with this article please contact:

Purdy
Director of Publicity
Oxford University Press, Inc (OUP USA)
212.726.6032, or christian.purdy@oup.com

Christian Purdy | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.oup.com

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Do microplastics harbour additional risks by colonization with harmful bacteria?
05.04.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>