A new study published in the online journal Population Health Metrics has revealed that Canadians are healthier and live longer than our American counterparts, thanks in part to our access to health care and quality of life. (Though I’m sure the fact that we don’t eat KFC Double Downs doesn’t hurt, either.)
According to the study, a 19-year-old Canadian is expected to have almost three more years of perfect health than their US counterpart, over their lifetimes. Lead researcher David Feeny, an investigator at the Center for Health Research at Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Portland, Oregon (and dual citizen), cites two main reasons for the difference.
"The two major explanations are fairly obvious," Feeny said in an interview with MedPage Today. “One is that Canada has universal pre-natal-to-grave health care and the United States does not. The other major explanation is poverty. In virtually all countries, there’s a very systematic relationship between income and health. The lower rates of poverty in Canada, relative to the United States, and particularly among the elderly… is part of what explains the difference that we detected.”
The study’s findings are based on data collected during a 2002-2003 telephone-interview population health survey, conducted by both Statistics Canada and the US National Center for Health Statistics. Researchers surveyed approximately 3,500 Canadians and 5,200 Americans.
"I think that Canadians can look at these results and get some affirmation that the investments that they have made in reducing inequality and in having a health-care system with universality have paid off," said Feeny. The authors also noted that the results "have implications for health care and social policy in the United States."
What do you think? Should the U.S. strive to be more like us in terms of health care and quality of life? Or are there things that we need to improve, too?