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Americans Less Healthy, But Outlive Brits 521

Posted by timothy
from the cross-cultural-croaking-comparison dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this intriguing snippet: "Older Americans are less healthy than their English counterparts, but they live as long or even longer than their English peers, according to a new study by researchers from the RAND Corporation and the Institute for Fiscal Studies in London. Researchers found that while Americans aged 55 to 64 have higher rates of chronic diseases than their peers in England, they died at about the same rate. And Americans age 65 and older — while still sicker than their English peers — had a lower death rate than similar people in England, according to findings published in the journal Demography."
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Americans Less Healthy, But Outlive Brits

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  • Re:Well, duh (Score:5, Informative)

    by onion2k (203094) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @07:12AM (#34146306) Homepage

    It's called ale, and it's supposed to be served warm (room temperature, as opposed to chilled). It actually tastes of something. It has substance. That's why we like it. In fact, this reminds me of a joke.

    Why is American beer like sex in a canoe?
    Because it's fucking close to water.

    It's funny because it's true. ;)

  • Not true actually (Score:3, Informative)

    by jamesh (87723) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @07:20AM (#34146330)

    The article misses an important detail - the Yanks actually dieing earlier than Brits, it's just that all the extra preservatives they consume keep them in a state of animated death for a few extra years.

  • by SteveAstro (209000) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @07:28AM (#34146348)

    Shipman didn't "ethnically cleanse" He almost exclusively murdered old ladies who "wouldn't be missed", including the mother of one of my friends.

  • Re:Even so! (Score:4, Informative)

    by contra_mundi (1362297) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @07:54AM (#34146420)
    Here you go, life expectancies for England:

    England - Male life expectancy 78 years, female 82.1 years.

    Source. [statistics.gov.uk]
  • Re:Well, duh (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anne Thwacks (531696) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @08:03AM (#34146458)
    What makes them less authentically American

    They are not less authentically American, just less authentically beer

  • Re:Well, duh (Score:3, Informative)

    by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @08:04AM (#34146462)

    The "fscking close to water" joke dates back to that era, if not to an earlier one.

    Earlier. It was used in WW2. It may have been used still earlier.

    When it wasn't used was the 19th century, when Budweiser and such were made by immigrant Germans, and it was really pretty damn good. Enough so that it was winning international awards.

    Sad where it's gone since then - I blame Prohibition, myself.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 06, 2010 @08:32AM (#34146566)

    To the submitter:

    FFS - English or British? They are not the same thing and not interchangeable. It's quite a simple thing to grasp you moron. I suspect that even if you had the suspicion that there was a difference, you'd probably think English means British and vice versa.

    Also: some British (self included) don't like the word Brits. Want to save room on the title? Change American to Yank: "Yanks less healthy, but outlive Brits". Don't like 'Yanks'? Then don't use 'Brits'.

  • Re:clearly (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 06, 2010 @08:35AM (#34146580)

    From TFA:

    "The study also investigated the relationship between the financial resources of individuals in both countries and how soon they would they would die in the future.

    "While poorer people are more likely to die sooner than their more well-off counterparts, researchers say their finding supports the view that the primary pathway between health and wealth is that poor health leads to a depletion of household wealth, rather than being poor causes one's health to decline. Researchers found that the substantial changes in wealth that occurred in the years 1992 and 2002 in the United States through increases in stock prices and housing prices did not alter the probability of subsequent death."

    Also this interesting conclusion:

    "The United States' health problem is not fundamentally a health care or insurance problem, at least at older ages," Banks said. "It is a problem of excess illness and the solution to that problem may lie outside the health care delivery system. The solution may be to alter lifestyles or other behaviors."

  • Re:Politics (Score:5, Informative)

    by damburger (981828) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @08:53AM (#34146636)

    Also bear in mind in the UK we now have a foaming-at-the-mouth radical neoliberal government, the type who says "Government is terrible! And when we get elected we are going to prove it!". They are intentionally gutting the NHS from the inside in order to make it look bad so they can move in after a few years and say "Socialised healthcare doesn't work" and sell the whole think off to their Eton/Oxbridge mates.

    Expect more of these lies in the future.

  • Re:Well, duh (Score:3, Informative)

    by wrook (134116) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @09:14AM (#34146698) Homepage

    No. Not even close. Japan has the world's worst cheese. I went to a fancy restaurant and noticed they had a cheese plate. This is such a rare occurrence in Japan that I thought I must be dreaming. So I asked the waitress, "What kinds of cheese are on the cheese plate?". She replied, "Processed and cream".

    To be fair, in Hokkaido they make some excellent camembert style cheeses. Japanese people don't seem to eat it though, which is too bad. I crave cheddar cheese, though. I'll even take the tasteless American cheddar cheese. As long as it is actually cheese and not cheese flavoured oil...

  • Re:Well, duh (Score:3, Informative)

    by psmears (629712) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @10:40AM (#34147056)

    The problem is that cheddar simply is a bland cheese.

    You're doing it wrong :-)

    Cheap cheddar, poor-quality cheddar, "mousetrap" cheddar is bland. Good, well-made, mature cheddar ranks up there with the best of them.

  • Re:Politics (Score:3, Informative)

    by gnasher719 (869701) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @11:13AM (#34147252)

    Also bear in mind in the UK we now have a foaming-at-the-mouth radical neoliberal government, the type who says "Government is terrible! And when we get elected we are going to prove it!". They are intentionally gutting the NHS from the inside in order to make it look bad so they can move in after a few years and say "Socialised healthcare doesn't work" and sell the whole think off to their Eton/Oxbridge mates.

    I know someone working at the NHS who at some point had a manager who managed her and nobody else, who in turn had a manager who managed that manager and nobody else, and who in turn had a manager managing that manager and nobody else. So she was outnumbered by management three-to-one and was the only one doing any actual useful work. So I'd say there is quite a bit of cost saving possible without reducing the quality at all.

  • Re:Even so! (Score:3, Informative)

    by at_slashdot (674436) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @11:27AM (#34147324)

    The article doesn't speak about life expectancy at birth, it talks about life expectancy for people who are 50+ years old, those are two different things.

  • Re:Well, duh (Score:5, Informative)

    by sjames (1099) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @11:59AM (#34147486) Homepage

    It also reflects a different culture. In the UK when an older person gets cancer or another terminal disease, they're more likely to opt for palliative care to maximize the quality of their remaining while in the U.S. they're more likely to opt for intensive treatment that adds time but subtracts quality of life. None of that reflects at all upon the quality or adequacy of the health care systems.

  • Re:Well, duh (Score:3, Informative)

    by fbjon (692006) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @01:38PM (#34147944) Homepage Journal

    But likewise, these same laws are the reason you don't see boxes of milk on store shelves, outside of refrigeration units. I was confused the first time I was in France at my wife's house and I had some cereal for breakfast. She had me pull a box of milk from the pantry. I thought all milk had to be kept refrigerated.

    Actually, ultra-high temperature pasteurization [wikipedia.org] makes the milk go sterile enough that the expiry date is at least three months ahead, at room temperature. There's still regular refrigerated milk, of course. Wikipedia says the reason it's generally not US stores is simply that consumers are uneasy about non-refrigerated milk.

  • Re:clearly (Score:3, Informative)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday November 06, 2010 @04:03PM (#34148692) Homepage Journal

    Medicare is roughly equal to "single payer".

    No, it's not.

    Unlike "socialized medicine", Medicare does nothing to bring down the overall costs of health care. The government is still unable to negotiate with pharmaceutical customers to get lower prices, as is done in countries with universal coverage.

    Plus, Medicare forces people without coverage to wait until they're 65 to get basic health care. By then, diseases which might have been easily prevented at age 45 or 50 have become symptomatic, which means there is less chance of cure and higher associated costs.

  • by nbauman (624611) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @08:57PM (#34150812) Homepage Journal

    My point is that it is easy to lie with statistics -- or to misapply them.

    A common misconception.

    Peer-reviewed publications require data to be submitted according to certain rules, because those rules make it difficult to lie with statistics.

    The infant mortality statistics have been thoroughly reviewed. Their strengths and weaknesses are well known.

    It's also well known that doctors who take the hardest cases have the worst outcomes.

    It is true that it's easy to lie and misapply statistics in non-peer-reviewed publications, like the Wall Street Journal editorial page, or in white papers from (mostly) right-wing think tanks, or blogs. That's the kind of thing you get when you do a Google search for "infant mortality". But if you go to the major peer-reviewed journals, statistical weaknesses are acknowledged and actual lies are rare.

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