We’re # 1? Nope – #38 and dropping

What does overall life expectancy have to do with upstream distressors?  This BBC article does a good job at listing many of the ills that result from US style westernized culture.

Risk factors

Source: University of Washington

Unsurprisingly, many of the risk factors tend to be behaviors which involve  self-medicating and self-soothing for perceived stress, anxiety and depression.  Some are related to living in poor quality neighborhoods lacking accessible and affordable fresh whole foods and green natural spaces to walk, sit, play and socialize.  Some are results of poor work and school environments, where long periods of enforced near immobility induce ill health.

All of the listed risk factors are malleable, modifiable and can be replaced with healthier choices.  But some of those alternatives needs must be supported by national, state and local policies and funding.  Fat chance of that happening in Tea Partier America.

Scientific American must have been channeling along the same lines in its Myths piece.

Myth #3 speaks to the notion that access to healthcare is a primary determinant of health.  Not so.

Access to health care is only one of several factors that play an important role in determining how healthy people are. Several studies suggest that easily being able to obtain medical care does not play as big a role as education, lifestyle, income and modern housing, along with sanitation (pdf) and vaccinationin determining why some folks are healthier than others.

Where the availability of health care makes the biggest difference to the health of any group is when people have regular access to general or primary care clinicians, who are able to take care of most of the medical problems people face most of the time. Good nursing care is particularly important for people with multiple chronic conditions.


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