Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Middle-aged English people are healthier than their American counterparts

03.05.2006


Middle-aged English people are healthier than their American counterparts, according to a collaborative study issued today by English and US researchers.



Americans aged between 55 and 64 suffer from diseases such as diabetes, high-blood pressure and lung cancer at rates up to twice those seen among similar aged people in England, reports the study, published on 3 May in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

By analysing a large representative sample of people from each country, researchers from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, UCL (University College London) and RAND in the US found that English people were less likely to report suffering from a wide array of diseases. The differences were confirmed when researchers analysed separate studies that collected blood samples from participants to look for biological markers of disease – showing that the differences were not just a result of Americans’ increased willingness to report illness.


Professor James Smith, of RAND and one of the study’s authors, says: “You don’t expect the health of middle-aged people in these two countries to be too different, but we found that the English are a lot healthier than the Americans. “It’s not just a difference in how people characterise their own health. The biological measures confirm there is a difference.”

English people reported better health than their American peers across a range of illnesses. The prevalence of diabetes was nearly twice as high in the US (12.5 per cent) as compared to England (6.1 per cent), while high blood pressure was approximately 10 percentage points higher in the US than in England. Heart disease was 50 per cent higher among middle-aged Americans than the English, while the rates of stroke, lung disease and cancer were higher as well.

Reports of poorer health were seen for all socioeconomic groups in the US in comparison to their English peers, not just among the poor. With the exception of cancer, people with lower incomes and educational achievement in both of the nations were more likely to report being ill than those with higher incomes and educational achievement. But, because of the differences between the two nations, those at the top of the education and income scale in the US reported rates of diabetes and heart disease that were similar to those at the bottom of the scale in England.

Professor Sir Michael Marmot, of the UCL Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, says: “In the US and England there were remarkably similar socioeconomic differences in health: the less education and income people had, the worse their health. We cannot blame either bad lifestyle or inadequate medical care as the main culprits in these socioeconomic differences in health. We should look for explanation to the circumstances in which people live and work.”

The study shows that the differences in health between the two nations are not fully explained by lifestyle factors, such as smoking, drinking, excess weight and poor exercise. Smoking behaviour is similar in the two nations, while excessive drinking of alcohol is more common in England. Obesity is more common in the US, and Americans get less exercise, according to the study. But researchers estimate that those factors together account for less than half of the differences. Nor are the differences accounted for by higher rates of black and Hispanic population in the US, who are groups known to have poorer health, since these are excluded from the study.

Researchers say that past differences in health risk factors may be one explanation for the disparities seen in the subjects covered by the study. Rising obesity has occurred in the UK only recently, with the rate increasing from seven per cent in 1980 to 23 per cent in 2003. Meanwhile, the prevalence of obesity in the US rose from 16 per cent to 31 per cent during the same period.

Professor James Banks, of the UCL Department of Economics and Institute for Fiscal Studies and one of the authors of the study, says: “It may be that England’s shorter history of obesity or differences in childhood experiences create an advantage with respect to middle-aged Americans. But this may mean that over time the gap between England and the United States will begin to close.”

The difference in health between middle-aged people in England and the US occurs despite the fact that per person medical spending in the US is more than twice as high as it is in the UK. The two nations also have different health systems, with the UK providing publicly funded health care for all households, while the US has publicly funded health care only for citizens over age 65.

The study uses older middle-aged members of several large surveys conducted in each nation from 1999 to 2003. In England, the data are drawn from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (3,681 people aged 55-64) and the Health Survey for England (5,526 people aged 40-70). For the US, the surveys used were the Health and Retirement Survey (4,386 people aged 55-64) and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2,097 people aged 40-70).

Judith Moore | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ucl.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Vanishing capillaries
23.03.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht How prenatal maternal infections may affect genetic factors in Autism spectrum disorder
22.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short

23.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics

23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles

23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>