The American Healthcare System is Changing
by MICHELLE S FIELDING
July 26, 2013
America was historically known as offering the best healthcare in the world, and people traveled here from all over the world for our specialized care. Yet, today we are witnessing America’s healthcare crisis. Each year it seems healthcare costs increase, yet the overall health of our population continues to decline. As we enter a more global world these differences become glaringly apparent.
In 2006, the World Health Organization calculated Expenditures as a Percent of the Gross Domestic Product for the world’s eight industrialized countries. The United States was revealed as having the highest health care expenditure of all. While the U.S. expenditure is much higher we have also been the only country that does not offer universal health care coverage to its citizens. In fact, one third of all Americans under the age of 65 were uninsured, which means more than 61 million people were without access to affordable care. Can you imagine not being able to get glasses if you need them, or not being able to be treated for pneumonia or a stroke if you fall victim to such an occurrence? Many Americans forgo treatment because of the cost of care.
Additionally that same year, the World Health Organization looked at Life Expectancy at Birth among the eight developed countries, and this time the United States came in last. I believe we could do a much better job of caring for ourselves as well as each other.
Additionally, the World Health Organization looked at Infant Mortality Rates per 1000 Live Births, to find that again the United States had the highest infant mortality rate among the eight developed countries. This is a shame, we need to do more on to educate women on the importance of caring for themselves so they can appropriately care for their children, and we could all make a difference by letting others know we care and wish to help.
The World Health Statistics series is WHO’s annual compilation of health-related data for its 194 Member States and includes a summary of the progress made towards achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and associated targets. WHO presents World Health Statistics 2012 as an integral part of its ongoing efforts to provide enhanced access to comparable high-quality statistics on core measures of population health and national health systems. Unless otherwise stated, all estimates have been cleared following consultation with Member States and are published as official WHO figures. These figures are available to the public, online. The ailing health of American’s seems to closely relate to the standard American diet and lifestyle. Out diet has become known among whole health educators as the SAD diet. In the U.S., obesity rates have more than doubled since 1970:
68.8% of adults are overweight or obese; 35.7% are obese.
31.8% of children and adolescents are overweight or obese; 16.9% are obese.
30.5% of low-income preschoolers are overweight or obese.
Disparities exist based on race-ethnicity, gender, age, geographic region, and socioeconomic status.
So what is being done to address this revealing data? Well, many medical researchers have looked back and asked, “What is the cause of all this disease and poor health?” At the National Institute of Whole Health, I was taught by some of the world’s most renown health scientists, who shared their findings with scientific, evidenced-based research data, among them were:
Walter Willett, MD, Dr. P.H, nutritionist and physician, is referred to as, “a voice of reason on diet,” at the Harvard School of Public Health, where he is chair of the nutritional department and the Frederick John Spare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition. Dr. Willett has repeatedly challenged the USDA guidelines entirely and advised that they be replaced with the science-based Healthy Eating Pyramid. He is also one of the principal investigators on the Nurses Health Study, one of the largest, long-term studies to look at the effect of diet on health. His findings are astounding. His research has helped to explain why there is so much confusion and controversy among diets. In this regard, in a Frontline interview, Dr. Willett commented on the medical advice some people received and is quoted as saying, “The evidence that was accrued really suggested not only that the type of advice that people were getting was not useful, but it actually could be dangerous, because some people were eliminating the very healthy types of fat that actually reduce heart disease rates.”
As a whole health educator, I will be able to elaborate on Dr. Willett’s comment to explain good fats and bad fats and teach you to understand the differences so you can choose appropriately for your health when baking or cooking, and furthermore, you will be able to discern with more accuracy which are most likely to be found in your meals if you eat out. Nutrition is getting a new focus in our national health care system and you will be amazed at what a healthy diet and lifestyle can do for you!
The National Scorecard on U.S. Health System Performance, 2011, updates a series of comprehensive assessments of U.S. population health and health care quality, access, efficiency, and equity. It finds substantial improvement on quality-of-care indicators that have been the focus of public reporting and collaborative initiatives. However, U.S. health system performance continues to fall far short of what is attainable. Across 42 performance indicators, the U.S. achieves a total score of 64 out of a possible 100 when comparing national rates with domestic and international benchmarks. (In the Fox Chapel Area School District, 64% would be a failing grade.) This failure occurred in spite of the fact that costs were up sharply, access to care deteriorated, health system efficiency remained low, disparities persisted, and health outcomes failed to keep pace with benchmarks. See article 2012/07/19.