USA Not Number 1?

When I was young my school had a great wrestling team. At the wrestling meets we’d chant over and over “we’re number 1”. We were number one in the state and we were proud of it.

USA Ranked 37th

Most of the people I talk to are very happy with our health care system. A lot of them believe that we are at the top of the world. However we can’t shout “we’re number 1.” No, we can only shout “we’re number 37!”. At least that is our rating from the World Health Organization (WHO).

USA Number 36 Life Expectancy

Ok, so perhaps you think the WHO is wrong. Who are they to decide how healthy we are, anyway? Let’s look at life expectancy and see where we rank. I know we are living longer than everyone else, right? You are right if you think that, as it isn’t as bad as the WHO numbers for overall health.  No, we get to chant “we’re number 36”.  What a big disappointment!  Cuba is tied with the United States and most of us thought their health care system was archaic.  Canada, Norway, Hong Kong and many others beat our life expectancy. Japan has the longest life expectancy with nearly 4 years longer than the United States. That is about 5% longer than the United States life expectancy. So for every 19 days we live they live 20. Talk about not being number one.

USA Health Care Spending Over 2 Times That of Many Other Nations

From 2003 our spending was well over two times the Japanese spending for health care yet we are getting such a small return on our dollar. So the big question is why, given that we spend the most per capita for health care do we get such a poor return?

Why Do We Rank So Low?

I believe there are many answers to that question. Most of the countries with longer life spans such as European and Asian nations don’t allow GMO’s. Is this a problem? I was just reading a question online the other day from someone who asked the question, “why, when I’m eating the same food in Europe am I losing weight and my clothes fitting better?”.  One of our patients returned from Europe saying she noticed that she felt better after eating the bread in France and that after she returned to the US she felt more bloated.

I don’t believe we are suffering a prescription drug deficiency. Rather than seeing life span getting better we are starting to see life spans decrease in spite of more prescription drug usage. Americans consume more prescription drugs than another other country per capita. More prescriptions drugs are not the answer.

Is it our diet? I believe this is very probable. We have one of the most unhealthy diets overall when compared to other developed nations. Certainly eating a healthy diet is a great way to extend your life and avoid disease.

What Do You Think We Can Do?

One of the first things we have to do is start to dialog and think about what we can do. Why do you believe we are so unhealthy given the money we spend on health?

We want to be able to say “we’re number 1” not “we’re number 36”. How do you think we can improve?

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About John Montague DC

John Montague DC is the owner of WebVitamins. He is active in the industry and is currently president of the NPA East.


  1. Dawn Tread says:

    I think that we can improve by further encouraging the undervalued practice of making smart and healthy decisions proactively instead of having to run interference after the damage has already occured.

  2. I believe diet is a huge part of it. If we ate “properly” in many cases we would not need the prescription drugs as we grow older. I was reading a blog the other day about making life changes, and one of the changes was a challenge to make a meal using no pre-processed ingredients. The blogger went on to say she realizes this can be difficult, etc etc. One meal!Once a week! Why is that so difficult for us. We have become a society that is in such a hurry to do everything, that food that isnt quick translates to “difficult”. Quite frankly, it doesnt even take that much longer to prepare non-processed foods. Sometimes it takes even less time and the result is so much healthier AND better tasting.

  3. It might be because of the food content we intake daily. But yeah, I got curious on what really causes this kind of difference in nations.

  4. Diet is the number one reason why I think USA is not number 1 when it comes to health. I was able to live in the USA for 3 months before and the usual food I saw that americans are taking in are usually burgers and fries. Having both of this as the usual food you take is unhealthy.

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