Tuesday, May 02, 2006

FROM THE "AND THIS IS SURPRISING?" FILES

This news piece treats the scientific finding that Americans are not as healthy as their peers in the UK as some sort of shocking revelation. Look at some of the quotations:
"stunning new research that erases misconceptions and has experts scratching their heads"

"experts familiar with the weaknesses in the U.S. health system seemed stunned by the study's conclusions"

"just why the United States fared so miserably wasn't clear"

"'It's something of a mystery,' said Richard Suzman of the U.S. National Institutes of Health"

Someone's paying these clowns for this analysis??? The article carefully notes that such factors as obesity, stress, and lack of exercise can't explain the disparity. Ok. I'm no doctor, but perhaps it's not any one factor, but the cumulative effects of many? Seems to me that the observable problems in the American way of life offer a pretty simple explanation: we eat like shit, we eat too much of that shit, we don't exercise enough, we're overworked, and we're both indebted & stressed out over that fact.

Plus, a pretty good sized percentage of Americans can't afford, and consequently do not get, health care. Can't afford health care, no doctor's visits. No doctor's visits, no early diagnoses of what could be minor problems. No early diagnosis of minor problems, major problems. Those formulae are pretty clear, no?

This mess is complicated, and I won't even try to offer some one line solution. The American Medical Association, HMOs, insurers, litigation-minded plaintiffs attorneys, the health care consumers themselves. Everyone's got a stake in the creation of the problem, and the answer's gonna have to be a very creative one.

But in the meantime, we're not a healthy nation, and "scientists" and "experts" notwithstanding, I don't know anyone who's surprised by this fact. And I guess trying to watch your own health is all you can do until that creative answer makes its appearance.

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