How California and Virginia can be as different as Liechtenstein and Brunei.
Vodka blamed for high death rates in Russia
The high number of early deaths in Russia is mainly due to people drinking too much alcohol, particularly vodka, research suggests.
The study, in The Lancet, says 25% of Russian men die before they are 55, and most of the deaths are down to alcohol. The comparable UK figure is 7%.
Causes of death include liver disease and alcohol poisoning. Many also die in accidents or after getting into fights.
The study is thought to be the largest of its kind in the country.
Researchers from the Russian Cancer Centre in Moscow, Oxford University in the UK and the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer, in France, tracked the drinking patterns of 151,000 adults in three Russian cities over up to 10 years.
During that time, 8,000 of them died. The researchers also drew on previous studies in which families of 49,000 people who had died were asked about their loved ones’ drinking habits.
Study co-author Prof Sir Richard Peto, from the University of Oxford, said: “Russian death rates have fluctuated wildly over the last 30 years as alcohol restrictions and social stability varied under Presidents Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and Putin, and the main thing driving these wild fluctuations in death was vodka.”
Researchers say alcohol consumption fell by around a quarter when the restrictions came in, and so did overall death rates. Then, when communism collapsed, people started drinking more again and the death rates also rose.
Sir Richard said: “When President Yeltsin took over from President Gorbachev, the overall death rates in young men more than doubled. This was as society collapsed and vodka became much more freely available.
"There was a huge increase in drinking and they were drinking in a destructive way. They were getting drunk on spirits and then buying and drinking more, producing a big risk of death."
The consumption rates for women also fluctuated according to political events, but they drank less so mortality rates were also lower.
Most drinkers were smokers as well which researchers say “aggravated” the death rates.
Russia brought in stricter alcohol control measures in 2006, including raising taxes and restricting sales.
Researchers say alcohol consumption has fallen by a third since then and the proportion of men dying before they reach 55 years old has fallen from 37% to 25%.
Half a litre of vodka costs around £3.00 (150 roubles). Heavy drinkers in this study were getting through at least a litre and a half of vodka a week.
In 2011, each Russian adult drank on average 13 litres of pure alcohol every year, of which eight litres was in spirits, mainly vodka.
In the UK the comparable figure is 10 litres per adult - but just less than two litres of that is in spirits.
Researchers say the key problem driving the high death rate is the way Russians drink alcohol.
Researcher Prof David Zaridze, from the Russian Cancer Research Centre, said: “They binge drink. That’s the main problem. It’s the pattern of drinking not the per-capita amount they are drinking.”
"Russians have always drunk a lot. They sometimes say it’s because of the cold weather but this is just an excuse. This is the nation’s lifestyle that needs to change.
"Since the average life expectancy from birth for men in Russia is still only 64 years, ranking among the lowest 50 countries in the world, more effective alcohol and tobacco policy measures are urgently needed."
Amidst all the focus on health insurance, I think it’s crucial not to lose focus on the fact that — insurance or not — the United States is lagging behind in health status. This chart — from a broader report — demonstrates not only how low our life expectancy is relative to other developed countries, but also how far we have fallen even in the last 30 years. Why are we not realizing the same gains that countries with comparable incomes are?
Emily Oster is an associate professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School. Her book is “Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong.”
(From The Washington Post)
The Singular Waste of America’s Healthcare System in 1 Remarkable Chart
We are an exceptional nation. At least when it comes to healthcare spending.
We spend much more than any other rich country, but we certainly don’t get more for it. We get less. We get about the same health outcomes, but don’t cover everybody like other rich countries do. Now, there are a lot of statistics that show how singularly wasteful our healthcare system is, but the chart below, via Aaron Carroll, is maybe the most visually arresting. It compares life expectancies with healthcare spending per capita for rich and near-rich countries. There’s a pretty predictable relationship, with diminishing returns for more spending—and then there’s the U.S.
See that dot that’s almost off the chart? We spend more than four times as much as the Czech Republic does per persona, and live about just as long.The problem is everybody wants the system to change, but nobody wants their corner of it to change. Doctors don’t want their pay to change. And patients don’t want their coverage to change. Obamacare tries to change both at the margins, and even that is politically fraught.
But something has to change. We can’t afford our healthcare exceptionalism.
This quotation is from the CDC press release “Healthy life expectancies at age 65 highest in Hawaii, lowest in Mississippi.”
You can check out a U.S. map of life expectancy by state here.
Environmental factors are so important to your health, that living just one stop away on the train can mean years difference in how long you’ll live, as these sobering maps show.
It’s no secret that city dwellers sometimes play a guessing game to break up an otherwise boring commute: If you guess that Nice Loafers will exit near the nice waterfront condos, he might live up to the stereotype, or surprise you and get off in a low-rent neighborhood. Meanwhile, Chest Tattoo with a Harmonica could live near the artist squats, or pop off for an $11 wheatgrass smoothie in the heart of the city’s fashion district. But unlike shoes or tattoos, the subway stop itself is a powerful and accurate indicator about populations of people, and the awful, underlying issue is that there’s actually little guesswork in it.
Public health researchers have been mapping severe life expectancy disparities across cities for years, but nowhere is that more apparent than on a map of the subway. Upon the second meeting of its Commission to Build a Healthier America, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released maps of health disparities across metro maps of Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and the San Joaquin Valley in early July. In some places, like New Orleans, a difference of just a mile could mean a difference of 20 years off an expected lifespan.
Younger Americans die earlier and live in poorer health than their counterparts in other developed countries, with far higher rates of death from guns, car accidents and drug addiction, according to a new analysis of health and longevity in the United States.
(From The New York Times)
A new report attempts to compare the relative effects of habits on life expectancy
Every so often, a scientific report will come out that warns of the life-shortening dangers of smoking, eating red meat, sitting too long, or of drinking too much alcohol. But until now, no researchers have tried to quantify the day-to-day hazards of bad habits.
British statistician David Spiegelhalter, in a report published Monday in British Medical Journal, attempts to quantify which habits have a greater impact on life expectancy: Is drinking heavily worse than living a sedentary lifestyle?
(From US News and World Report)
Life expectancy around world shows dramatic rise, study finds
Men are living 11 years longer and women 12 years compared with 40 years ago, although health problems are also rising.
Life expectancy around the world has risen dramatically, by 11 years for men and 12 years for women over the last four decades, but we are paying the price in more mental and physical health problems, according to the biggest-ever study of the global burden of disease.
(From The Guardian, London)