AMERICANS SURPASS EUROPEANS IN CHRONIC ILLNESSES?

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

It looks as if Europe has the United States beat when it comesto who is healthier. In the first study of its kind, researchers atEmory University Rollins School of Public Health found thatadults who live in the United States are more prone to be diagnosedwith costly chronic diseases, compared with theirEuropean peers. The report also said that chronic diseases addapproximately $100 billion to $150 billion per year in US healthcare spending.

Data from 2004 on the prevalence and treatment of diseasesamong adults aged 50 and older in the United States and 10European countries found that Americans were almost twice aslikely as Europeans to be obese (33.1% vs 17.1%, respectively)and also were more prone to be current or former smokers(53% vs 43%, respectively). Furthermore, Americans had higherrates of several serious diseases, including cancer, diabetes,heart disease, and chronic lung disease, according to findingsreported online in Health Affairs (October 2, 2007).

"We expected to see differences between prevalence in theUnited States and Europe, but the extent of the differences issurprising," commented lead author Kenneth E. Thorpe, PhD. "Itis possible that we spend more on health care because we are,indeed, less healthy. If the United States could bring its obesityrates more in line with Europe's, it could save $100 billion ormore in health care costs."