United States Vs. United Kingdom: Factors Affectingthe Health Status of these Countries This paper aims to compare the health status ofthe United States of America with another industrialized country. The paperwill analyze the health status of both countries.
Then, it will look at accessto health care, the most prominent health problem faced by the residents of thecountries mentioned above, and the ways using which said health status ofpeople living in these countries could be improved. The country whose healthstatus will be compared to the United States of the America is the United Kingdom. I selected the United Kingdom because it wasthe first country ever in the world to become industrialized.
(Sachs, 2015)Also, it was selected because in term of their political setting, the UnitedStates and United Kingdom are very similar. For instance, currently, DonaldTrump, who is a Republican, is the president of the United States, and thecurrent prime minister of the United Kingdom is Theresa May, who belongs to theConservative Party. Both these leaders share similar values and ideas in termhow their countries should be governed. Specifically, in terms of healthcare,one can observe that the views shared by these leaders are very similar innature. For example, Theresa May has made cutbacks to the funding of the UnitedKingdom’s healthcare system: the National Health Services (Campbell andHopkins, 2017), and Trump’s administration is currently in the process ofrepealing the Affordable Care Act (BBC, 2017).
Therefore, considering the sociopolitical and economic situation ofboth United Kingdom and the United States, it can be assumed that people livingin the U.S. and the UK live very similar and equally unhealthy lives. Currently, UK’s life expectancy is 81.60 yearswhile the U.S.’s life expectancy is 78.
74 years. (World Bank, 2015) Additionally,the current death rate of the UK is 1.010 per 100,000 population (Office forNational Statistics, 2017) while the current death rate of U.S. is 823.7 deathsper 100,000 population (CDC, 2017). These differences may not seem huge to acasual observer, but to those of us in the field of health care, thesedifference are massive. This difference in life expectancy can be attributedtowards several different issues.
However, this paper will only take three mostpressing health concerns faced by both countries into account: obesity, accessto healthcare, and smoking. Obesity The World Health Organization ranked the U.S.as the most obese country in the world, with 30.6% of its population sufferingfrom obesity.
According to the World Health Organization, rise in fast foodconsumption is directly correlated to the rise in obesity in the U.S. and theUK. (De Vogli, 2013) Since both these countries are extremely capitalistic andhighly industrialized, the need to consume fast food, or food that is availablein a really short period of time, is understandable. However, fast foodcontains saturated fats, salts, and sugars in high proportions. These additivesdo nothing but make one fat. Additionally, for the U.S.
, the sedentaryworkplace is attributed as another reason for obesity. According to a study,”only 20% of today’s jobs require at least moderate physical activity, asopposed to 50% of jobs in 1960.” (Parker-Pope, 2011) The same reasons apply tothe UK as well.Access toHealthcare Even though the funding for the NHS has beengutted with a machete, the UK still fares better than the U.S. when it comes toproviding healthcare to its citizens. According to the Guardian, “The survey,by U.
S. health think tank the Commonwealth Fund, showed that while a third ofAmerican adults “went without recommended care, did not see a doctor when sick,or failed to fill prescriptions because of costs”, this figure was only 6% inthe UK and 5% in Holland.” (Ramesh, 2010) Additionally, healthcare in the UK isfree for its residents, while it is not the same for the U.S. Residents of theU.S.
have to pay heaps of money to see a doctor, even if it is for a minorcondition. To those who were underprivileged, the Affordable Care Act, or as itis better know as Obama Care, provided some solace. However, now Trump’sadministration is in the process of repealing Obama Care, making access tohealthcare even scarce and extremely expensive to those in need. Smoking The Center for Disease Control, U.
S., (2016)cites smoking as one of the biggest reasons for death in the U.S. According tothe CDC, 1 in every 5 death in the U.S.
occurs due to smoking, with smokingleading to a total of 480,000 deaths every year. Additionally, by 2016, 17.7%of the population of ages 25-44 was found to be smoking.
While the number ofcigarette smokers in the United States has dropped by 8.6 million since 2005(Harris, 2016), the incidence of smoking is still high in comparison to the UK.According to the Office of National Statics, and as seen in Figure 1 below, in2015, “of all adults in the UK 17.2% smoked, down from 20.1% of adults whosmoked in 2010.
” Additionally, “2.3 million people in Great Britain usede-cigarettes in 2015; for half of these, “vaping” is used as a means to quitsmoking.” (ONS, 2016) From this data it can be inferred that the rate ofsmoking in the UK is less than the rate of smoking in the U.S. While bothcountries have seen a significant decrease in the use of tobacco, the UnitedStates is still at risk as compared to the UK.Analysis ofthe Possible Response to Address the Health Disparities First, we shall address the issue of obesity.The United States and the United Kingdom are both grotesquely obese in theirentirety.
According to De Vogli (2013) obesity can be reduced by adopting ahealthier lifestyle, i.e. exercising more, eating less junk food, eating morevegetables, cooking at home instead of ordering takeout etc. However, for thoseliving in a high-paced life, or for those living on a very limited pay, theseoptions are not suitable. Supposedly, the only way obesity can be reduced is byexercise.
Exercise is the only option that can be used by people of all classesand work schedules in these countries. Secondly, the UK’s healthcare system does notneed improvement; it is catering to the needs of its citizens in a veryefficient way. The U.
S should follows the UK’s footsteps and establish auniversal healthcare system that is available to every single person living inthe United States. Thirdly,the incidence of smoking is high in both countries; and while the UK has lesssmokers per capita than the United States (ONS, 2016), that does not meansmoking is not a problem in the United Kingdom. The only solution both thegovernments of the U.S. and the U.
S. have come to is increasing the tax ontobacco. This solution is not a sustainable or feasible one since this does notchange the ratio of smoking much (NPR, 2017).SelfReflection Myperspective of this topic has not changed very much after conducting a researchon this topic. I was already aware of these disparities existing between thetwo countries, but now I have substantial proof to backup my claims.
However, Ihave learned to use academic websites to look for research papers. Iparticularly liked JSTOR. This form of research has given me practicalexperience that I will continue to benefit from in my academic journey.