I have not studied the details behind the construction of these numbers, but they are asking a sensible question … Given how overweight we Americans are compared with citizens of other countries, it is amazing that we live as long as we do.
Why this might be misleading is explained after the jump.
OK, Greg is likely correct in his assertion that obesity – along with homicide and accidents – tend to lower life expectancy as traditionally measured but notice that his previous post asserted that higher spending should lead to better health outcomes. Let’s turn to Carpe Diem’s source, which was a PowerPoint presentation by Robert Ohsfeldt and John Schneider, which discusses health care reform by starting with a bullet point entitled “Dimensions of underperformance”. The sub-bullets are excessive spending, poor health outcomes, and inadequate access to care. Slide 6 notes that the US spends twice as much per capita as nations such as Canada, France, Germany, and the UK. The authors do, however, note that one would expect at least a little higher spending per capita given the fact that the U.S. has higher income per capita. The authors also provide a lot of evidence on the quality of health care debate as well as how many Americans go uninsured.
The contributions to this debate made by Ohsfeldt and Schneider appear to go well beyond the standardized life expectancy comparison that Mark Perry (Carpe Diem) and Greg have emphasized. I for one would love to study the details of their research more closely. But for now, let me rephrase Greg’s query as follows:
Given our much we Americans spend on health care compared with citizens of other countries, it is amazing that we don’t live longer.