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English healthier than Americans but die younger

4th November 2010

A new study has revealed that English people are far healthier when they retire than their American counterparts but die earlier because of poorer healthcare.

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The findings from US research think tank the Rand Corporation, in a study co-authored by the Institute for Fiscal Studies in London, analysed information from two comparable surveys of people aged 50 and over in the United States and England.

Taking data from 20,000 people in the US Health and Retirement Survey and 12,000 people in the English Longitudinal Survey of Ageing, a picture emerged of people in the United States twice as likely to develop diabetes and a third more likely to develop cancer than those among similar aged people in England.

But an American aged 65 can expect to live three months longer than their UK counterpart, because their healthcare system is better. In both countries, life expectancy was 82 for men and 85 for women, but Americans could expect those extra few months of life.

Lead author Jim Smith from the Rand Corporation said: “Americans are so much sicker but they make up for it with much more aggressive and expensive health care.

“We are spending twice as much as England on health and we are getting the benefit of the extra years of life.”

The study focussed on seven chronic conditions: diabetes, high-blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack, stroke, chronic lung diseases and cancer.

Figures from the OECD show that America spends 16% of its GDP on healthcare compared with 8.7% in England.

 

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