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 Nanoparticles as a Solution against Antibiotic Resistance?
15.12.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

nachricht Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests
14.12.2017 | Aalto University

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: Error-free into the Quantum Computer Age

A study carried out by an international team of researchers and published in the journal Physical Review X shows that ion-trap technologies available today are suitable for building large-scale quantum computers. The scientists introduce trapped-ion quantum error correction protocols that detect and correct processing errors.

In order to reach their full potential, today’s quantum computer prototypes have to meet specific criteria: First, they have to be made bigger, which means...

Im Focus: Search for planets with Carmenes successful

German and Spanish researchers plan, build and use modern spectrograph

Since 2016, German and Spanish researchers, among them scientists from the University of Göttingen, have been hunting for exoplanets with the “Carmenes”...

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Single-photon detector can count to 4

18.12.2017 | Information Technology

Quantum memory with record-breaking capacity based on laser-cooled atoms

18.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

How much soil goes down the drain -- New data on soil lost due to water

18.12.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>