Compared to their neighbours south of the border, Canadians live longer, healthier lives. Research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Population Health Metrics has found this disparity between the two countries, suggesting that America's lack of universal health care and lower levels of social and economic equality are to blame.
David Feeny, from Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, Oregon, USA, worked with a team of American researchers to study data from the Joint Canada/United States Survey of Health 2002/03. He said, "Canada and the US share a common border and enjoy very similar standards of living, yet life expectancy in Canada is higher than in the US. There are two distinct potential explanations for the gap: differences in access to health care and in the prevalence of poverty".
Canadians have a universal 'prenatal to grave' health service, which is free at point of care, while Americans' access to health insurance is typically based on employment, income (Medicaid), or age (Medicare), and is not universal. The degree of social inequality is also more pronounced in the US. The researchers found that Canadians can expect 2.7 more years of 'perfect health' than Americans – more than half of the gap found between the richest and poorest people in Canada. Speaking about the results, Feeny said, "The difference in health between the two countries seems to be associated with substantial differences in access to care as well as substantial differences in social and economic inequality. Yet distinguishing among the potential explanations for the differences in health between the two countries would require longitudinal data. Perhaps it is time for Canada and the US to contemplate a joint longitudinal survey."
Notes to Editors
1. Comparing population health in the United States and Canada
David H Feeny, Mark S. Kaplan, Nathalie Huguet and Bentson H McFarland
Population Health Metrics (in press)
During embargo, article available here: http://www.pophealthmetrics.com/imedia/1203375602931000_article.pdf?random=336774
After the embargo, article available at the journal website: http://www.pophealthmetrics.com/
Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.
Article citation and URL available on request at email@example.com on the day of publication.
2. Population Health Metrics is an Open Access, peer-reviewed, online journal addressing all aspects of measurement of the health of populations.
3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.
Population Health Metrics