Canadian Residents Healthier Than U.S. Residents
U.S. residents are 42% more likely than Canadian residents to have diabetes, 32% more likely to have hypertension and 12% more likely to have arthritis, according to a study scheduled to appear in the American Journal of Public Health, the AP/Long Island Newsday reports.
The study, conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School, involved a 2002-2003 telephone survey of about 5,200 U.S. adults and about 3,500 Canadian adults.
According to the study, 6.7% of U.S. adults and 4.7% of Canadian adults reported that they have diabetes; 18.3% and 13.9%, respectively, reported that that they have hypertension; and 17.9% and 16%, respectively, reported that they have arthritis.
In addition, a higher rate of U.S. adults than Canadian adults reported that they have heart disease and major depression, but the differences were not statistically significant, the study finds.
The study also finds:
- 21% of U.S. adults reported that they were obese, compared with 15% of Canadians adults;
- About 13.5% of U.S. adults reported that they have a sedentary lifestyle, compared with 6.5% of Canadian adults;
- 17% of U.S. adults reported that they smoke, compared with 19% of Canadian adults;
- 42% of U.S. adults reported that they receive excellent health care, compared with 39% of Canadian adults;
- 92% of U.S. women reported that they had received a Pap test within the past five years, compared with 83% of Canadian women;
- Less than 1% of U.S. adults reported that they did not receive necessary care because of long waits, compared with 3.5% of Canadian adults;
- 80% of U.S. adults reported that they have a regular physician, compared with 85% of Canadian adults; and
- 9.9% of U.S. adults reported that they did not have access to necessary medications because of cost issues, compared with 5.1% of Canadian adults.
"We're really falling behind other nations," Steffie Woolhandler, a co-author of the study, said. Woolhandler attributed the results of the study in part to the Canadian national health insurance system, which she said allows more Canadian residents to have access to preventive care.
However, James Smith, a RAND researcher and a co-author of a recent study that compared the health of U.S. and British residents, called the explanation "unlikely" (Stobbe, AP/Long Island Newsday, 5/30).
An abstract of the Harvard Medical School study is available online.