Canadians are Healthier and Happier

Sean McKeown

A new research study published by BioMed Central shows that Canadians live happier and healthier lives than their American neighbors. David Feeny, the corresponding author, set out to compare the population health between the United States and Canada. He knew that both countries have many similarities but there are also some significant differences in the levels of social and economic inequality, and the organization and financing of and access of health care in the neighboring countries.

The Center for Health Research used data from the Joint Canada/United States Survey of Health 2002/03, and The Health Utilities Index Mark 3 (HUI3) to measure overall health-related quality of life (HRQL). Average HUI3 scores were compared, changing for major determinants of health, including body mass index, smoking, education, gender, race, and income as well as estimates of life expectancy. By categorizing the average HU13 scores by age and gender they could use Canadian and US life tables to estimate the Health-Adjusted Life Expectancy (HALE).

The results showed that the life expectancy in Canada is higher than in the US. It found that people under the age of 40 had no significant difference in their HRQL. But Canadians over 40 are shown to have a higher HRQL.

The study concludes that;

“The population of Canada appears to be substantially healthier than the US population with respect to life expectancy, HRQL, and HALE. Factors that account for the difference may include access to health care over the full life span (universal health insurance) and lower levels of social and economic inequality, especially among the elderly.”

We can all make our own judgments but the message is clear we Americans need to find a way to live healthier and happier lives. In words Ms. Gould might have said “Make the best of your day, or not, the choice is YOURS”