US health and mortality continue to rank poorly compared to peer countries

Health and mortality in the United States continues to rank poorly compared to peer countries, and a new additional number to The journals of gerontology, series B: psychological sciences and social sciences titled “Why Does US Health Care Continue to Lag?” features articles that analyze the reasons for the downward trends.

In 2010, according to the newspaper, life expectancy at birth in the United States was a full year lower than the average of the 27 countries of the European Union; over the next decade, the deficit doubled and the COVID-19 pandemic widened the gap.

Even the wealthiest US states -; those characterized by dynamic on-demand economies with many highly skilled workers -; perform at or below the national averages of other high-income countries. Levels of chronic disease and disability are also generally higher in the United States than in many other peer countries.

The supplemental issue was edited by Neil K. Mehta, PhD, University of Texas Medical Branch, Mikko Myrskylä, PhD, Max Planck Institute for Population Research, and the late Robert F. Schoeni, PhD , from the University of Michigan.

There is no simple answer. The question touches on many complicated factors with an emphasis on social and behavioral factors. The United States has been lagging behind for a while, but over the past decade it has gotten much worse. Even though the United States has done poorly compared to other countries, we are still further behind.”


Neil K. Mehta, PhD, University of Texas Medical Branch

The research articles in this issue include details on age groups, causes of death, risk factors and generational patterns.

“We see that violence and drug overdoses are both significant contributors to the shift,” Myrskylä said. They have both proximal characteristics such as the availability of firearms or prescription regulations, and structural characteristics of the economy and society. It is likely that they interact with each other in complex ways.”

He added that cardiovascular diseases and their risk factors also explain some of the delay and could be at the forefront of recent trends.

“Appropriate interventions would require social and healthcare interventions at multiple levels,” Myrskylä said.

This supplemental issue was sponsored by the University of Michigan with support from the National Institute on Aging.