First the redcoats, now the red leaves! Last week DiseaseProof looked at a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showing the British are healthier than Americans. This week new research indicates our neighbors to the north are healthier too. MSNBC reports:
Americans are 42 percent more likely than Canadians to have diabetes, 32 percent more likely to have high blood pressure, and 12 percent more likely to have arthritis, Harvard Medical School researchers found. That is according to a survey in which American and Canadian adults were asked over the telephone about their health.
This graph from the Associated Press shows additional health disparities found during this study:
The knee-jerk reaction to this study (other than panic) is to point to Canada's national health insurance program as an explanation. Some researchers adhere to the idea, but others dismiss it as anecdotal:
Canada's national health insurance program is at least part of the reason for the differences found in the study, Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, a co-author of the Canadian study said. Universal coverage makes it easier for more Canadians to get disease-preventing health services, she said.
James Smith, a RAND Corp. researcher who co-authored the American-English study, disagreed. His research found that England's national health insurance program did not explain the difference in disease rates, because even Americans with insurance were in worse health.
"To me, that's unlikely," he said of the idea that universal coverage explains international differences.
Research like this is fascinating. But it does little improve your health, no matter where you live. In the meantime do your own research. Check out all the research on a nutrient-rich vegetable-based diet and how it can protect against diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.