When compared with other industrialized nations, Americans have a lower life expectancy, as well as increased rates of injury and disease, USA Today reports. A major report from the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine has conducted a dynamic anlysis of health benchmarks among 17 industrialized nations, including the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan and much of Western Europe.  

Despite spending more per capita on health care than any other nation, the United States ranked as the worst in nine major health areas, including: HIV/AIDS prevalence, infant mortality and low birth weight, drug-related deaths, injuries and homicides, teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, obesity and diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease, and disability.  

The United States has the highest HIV prevalence among ages 15 to 49. For the past two decades, the country has also maintained the highest rates of adolescent pregnancies.

America does, however, fare well in reducing deaths from strokes and cancer, as well as in controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Nearly two thirds of the drag on life expectancy in the United States is a consequence of deaths before the age of 50.

In a release, Steven H. Woolf, a professor of family medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and chair of the panel that authored report, said, “We were struck by the gravity of these findings. Americans are dying and suffering at rates that we know are unnecessary because people in other high-income countries are living longer lives and enjoying better health. What concerns our panel is why, for decades, we have been slipping behind.”

To read the USA Today Report, click here.

For a PDF of the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine report, click here.