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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Committee on Population
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
U.S. Health in International Perspective:    
Shorter Lives, Poorer Health                     

Intl Health cover



International Health Report Brief Image

Read the report brief
that summarizes the main findings.


Video Highlights

Video Thumbnail

Watch a short interview
with the chair of the committee.






Although the United States spends more on health care than any other nation, a growing body of research shows that Americans are in poorer health and live shorter lives than people in many other high-income countries. U.S. Health in International Perspective synthesizes; available research, taking an in-depth look at this disadvantage in health and lifespan.

Why is the United States falling behind? The report finds that America's health disadvantage probably results from a combination of factors: inadequate health care systems, unhealthy behaviors, social and economic factors, and environmental factors, such as metropolitan landscapes that encourage car use rather than exercise. 
(Press Release, Press Coverage)


For more information on the U.S. health disadvantage, its likely causes, and steps the nation can take to start closing the gap:

  • Explore this interactive chart, which allows the reader to examine how the U.S. compares to 16 "peer" countries—other high-income democracies—on specific causes of death such as heart disease, HIV/AIDS, violence, and traffic accidents

International Health Graph pic




This report is the work of the Panel on Understanding Cross-National Health Differences Among High-Income Countries which was a joint effort between the Committee on Population in the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education at the National Research Council and the Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice in the Institute of Medicine. The study was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

























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