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Study: Canadians Healthier Than Americans

NewsMax.com Wires
Wednesday, May 31, 2006

You can add Canadians to the list of foreigners who are healthier than Americans. 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.

The study comes less than a month after other researchers reported that middle-aged, white Americans are much sicker than their counterparts in England.

"We're really falling behind other nations," said Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, a co-author of the Canadian study.

Canada's national health insurance program is at least part of the reason for the differences found in the study, Woolhandler 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.

Woolhandler said her findings were different in at least one important respect: In the Canadian study, insured Americans and Canadians had about the same rates of disease. It was the uninsured Americans who made the overall U.S. figures worse, she said.

The study, released Tuesday, is being published in the American Journal of Public Health. It is based on a telephone survey of about 3,500 Canadians and 5,200 U.S. residents in 2002-03. Those surveyed were 18 or older.

The results are based on what those surveyed said about their health. In contrast, the researchers in the American-English study surveyed participants and also examined people and conducted laboratory tests on them.

The new study found that 6.7 percent of Americans and 4.7 percent of Canadians reported having diabetes; 18.3 percent and 13.9 percent, respectively, reported having high blood pressure; and 17.9 percent and 16.0 percent said they had arthritis. The Americans also reported more heart disease and major depression, but those difference were too small to be statistically significant.

About 21 percent of Americans said they were obese, compared with 15 percent of Canadians. And about 13.5 percent of the Americans admitted to a sedentary lifestyle, versus 6.5 percent of Canadians. However, more Canadians were smokers - 19 percent, compared with about 17 percent of Americans.

About 42 percent of the Americans rated their quality of health care as excellent, while 39 percent of Canadians did.

Also, 92 percent of American women said they had a Pap test within the last five years, while 83 percent of Canadian women had. But Canadians have lower death rates from cervical cancer. "It's a little hard to interpret," Woolhandler said.

One more plus for the Americans: Fewer than 1 percent said they were unable to get needed care because of long waits, compared with 3.5 percent of Canadians.

However, about 80 percent of Americans had a regular doctor, while 85 percent of Canadians did. And nearly twice as many Americans said there were medicines they needed but couldn't afford (9.9 percent versus 5.1 percent).
 

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^Considering that most american health problems are linked to our gross obesity and not our health care system, I don't know how you consider this proof of anything other than our national love affair with food. Btw, I agree public funded medicare is better but this is not proof of that.
 

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Obesity is linked to the health care system, obesity awareness and prevention is a branch of preventative healthcare, and our healthcare system does have alot of education on the subject. A plan to help overweight people get into shape would most likely be put under the healthcare system here, which does make it somewhat relevent, however, Canada's being-in-better-shape-than-America can be beter attributed to the more active lifestyle of most Canadians.
 

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^
Canada is still a grossly obeise nation.

Comparing ourselves to one of the fattest nations in the world (if not the fattest) isn't setting very high public health standards.

Let's compare ourselves to the Aussies. They are far less fat than we are.

However, Vid is correct, it can be considered one of several indirect measures of the health care system (Health promotion is a branch which is of primary importance to the populations health, attempting to reduce the cost of the overall system). Health promotion does have an effect on lifestyle, to varying degrees. However, it is vastly more complex than this...to say it is based on our health care system without considering the plethora of other factors would be an oversimplification indeed.

Out of curiosity sake, I wonder if Houston will remain the fattest city in America for 2006?
 

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Dr. Phalange said:
Let's compare ourselves to the Aussies. They are far less fat than we are.
Actually, according to OECD stats (2005), Australia's obesity rate is higher than Canada.

I agree though that Canada's an embarrassingly fat nation, especially out in the hinterlands of the 905. Much worse than what I'm used to.

On a surprising note, it was interesting to see that Australia's obesity crisis was spreading to pets.

***

Loving your pets to death
2006-05-28

Australia is a nation of pet lovers but it may be loving its animals to death with pet owners passing on rising levels of obesity by overfeeding their cats and dogs, the country's main animal welfare body says.

Despite its image as a sports-mad country full of fit, sun-bronzed youth, Australia in reality is battling the bulge and challenging the United States as the world's fattest nation. The problem now extends to household pets.

Obesity rates for Australians have doubled over the past 20 years, with 62 percent of men and 45 percent of women now deemed overweight or obese.

The same trend applies to household pets, with an increase in the number of overweight cats and dogs being dealt with by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), and even one case of an obese pet mouse.

"It's a big problem, and quite reflective of what's happening in the human situation," said Mark Lawrie, the RSPCA's chief vet.

Australia is a nation of 20 million people, almost 4 million dogs, 2.5 million cats, 8.7 million pet birds and more than 12 million pet fish.

It has one of the world's highest rates of pet ownership at 64 percent of households, compared to 62 percent in the United States and 44 percent in Britain.

Lawrie told Reuters surveys had found that between 40 and 44 percent of dogs and more than one in three household cats were now overweight, due to poor diet and a lack of exercise.

Fat cats and dogs were more vulnerable to diabetes, arthritis, heart problems and liver disease.

Dogs most at risk were Labradors, Beagles and cross-breeds such as Labradoodles -- a mixture of a Labrador and a Poodle -- with household moggies more at risk than other types of cats.

The RSPCA said de-sexing and lower levels of exercise had an impact on pet obesity, but the key issue was over-eating.

"It's really the calorie intake and food that makes the big difference," Lawrie said, adding that many pet owners could not

resist giving their animals food when they asked for it.
 

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vid said:
Obesity is linked to the health care system, obesity awareness and prevention is a branch of preventative healthcare, and our healthcare system does have alot of education on the subject. A plan to help overweight people get into shape would most likely be put under the healthcare system here, which does make it somewhat relevent, however, Canada's being-in-better-shape-than-America can be beter attributed to the more active lifestyle of most Canadians.
The link between obesity and health care is tenuous at best. Being an obese man myself, I know that obesity is mostly a matter of personal choice. An obese person will put down the doughnuts only when they are good and ready. ;)
 

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ORDgasm said:
The link between obesity and health care is tenuous at best. Being an obese man myself, I know that obesity is mostly a matter of personal choice. An obese person will put down the doughnuts only when they are good and ready. ;)
Ontario Health has public service announcements stateing that, while we have the freedom to eat donuts and drink frying oil, that's not particularly healthy, and it's best to stay active, eat healthy, and keep fit. Obesity prevention is part of healthcare in Canada, becaue of our pro-health propaganada. In the United States the government does not encourage health at all, while in Canada, our government does. Obesity is a personal choice, but if you tell people that obesity is disgusting and that there is an easy (very easy, in fact) way to prevent it, thus preventing obesity related diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

America has 'sick care'; when you're sick, they'll treat you.

Canada has 'health care and prevention' they encourage a healthy lifestyle and promote the prevention of sickness, rancing from west nile and bird flu to obesity and the common cold.

The awareness of ones health is important, and helps keep the cost of health care down. The more people that follow the 'live healthy/live happy' messages the government sends out, the less people needing diabetes medication or other medical needs, keeping health care costs down. Keeping people healthy while theyre still healthy is much cheaper than making people better after they've gotten sick. ;)

Thats one of the less known failures of America's private health care. No awareness.

I can get almost any vaccine I need free at the health centre. Can you?
 

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No clue. These posts are over 6 years old! Children that weren't yet born when they were posted are entering elementary school!!
 

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Being healthier than Americans isn't a major accomplishment. They're some of the least healthy people in the western world. Why do you think so many diet/exercise plans come from that country? You don't see Japan putting out a new diet plan every other week.
 

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You don't see Japan putting out a new diet plan every other week.
They do though, usually in the form of "eat only this food product and you'll live forever" type things. One member at SSP mentioned that it happened recently with bananas, and for a while the country was sold out of bananas because of it.
 
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