United States Far From Healthiest Country in the World

From the July 26th 2000 online issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), and in the Aug. 28, 2000 issue of the American Medical News, comes some sad statistics concerning the state of health in the United States. These numbers should be viewed in the light that Americans spend more by far on medical care than any other country in the world. The United States spends 13.7% of its gross domestic product on medical care. This is more than any of the 191 World Health Organizations member nations. Read these statistics and judge for yourself.

  • US life expectancy ranked 24th of the WHO nations.
  • The US ranked 37th in overall health system performance putting it between Costa Rica and Slovenia.
  • The United States fell way down on the WHO list according to fairness in financing its health care system. In this category the US came in at 54th, between the Republic of Korea and Fiji.

In a comparison done between 13 nations in the 1998 Oxford University Press, the United States also showed glaring weaknesses in its health care system. Of the 13 nations in the study the US ranked;

  • 13th (last) for low-birth-weight percentages
  • 13th for neonatal mortality and infant mortality overall
  • 11th for postneonatal mortality
  • 13th for years of potential life lost (excluding external causes)
  • 11th for life expectancy at 1 year for females, 12th for males
  • 10th for age-adjusted mortality

Other interesting facts that came out of the report were:

  • 12,000 deaths/year from unnecessary surgery
  • 7000 deaths/year from medication errors in hospitals
  • 20,000 deaths/year from other errors in hospitals
  • 80,000 deaths/year from nosocomial infections in hospitals
  • 106,000 deaths/year from nonerror, adverse effects of medications

These statistics reflect a medical system that is in need of revamping, not just creative refinancing. It should be noted that chiropractic care is not calculated into these statistics and therefore is not contributing to the unimpressive US health statistics.