Just saw the OECD** Health Data 2012 report. The U.S. spends more on medical care on a per-capita/per person basis that any other country in the world! Sadly, that money doesn’t translate into better health. We spend $8,233 per person per year compared to the next highest, Switzerland at $5,270. Yet, our life expectancy is 80.7 years versus 82.6 years for the Swiss. Infant death per 1000 in the U.S. is 6.1 versus 3.8 in Switzerland. South Korea has the same life expectancy as the U.S. but only spends $2,035 per person per year and their infant mortality is almost 50% lower than the U.S. (3.2)
Last week’s USA TODAY article on obesity also shows us as a dismal, getting-heavier nation. If we continue filling our mouths with high caloric food and staying sedentary, 42% of American will be obese by 2030. Currently, according to OECD statistics, 35.9% of our population is obese versus 4.1% in South Korea.
If we are going to be a resilient nation with a sustainable future, we’ve got to become a healthier nation. What if health insurance actually rewarded diet and exercise? When I applied for my insurance, the only lifestyle question asked was whether or not I smoked. What if we actually stopped subsidizing the tobacco industry ( to date $1.3 billion from 1995-20110) and put tax payer dollars behind more fruits and vegetables and healthy school meals? What if we also took more personal responsibility for what we consume and our level of activities? That’s a novel approach.
It’s time to change our dismal statistics. Would love to know your ideas!!!