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Middle-aged English people are healthier than their American counterparts

Middle-aged English people are healthier than their American counterparts, according to a collaborative study issued today by English and US researchers.

Americans aged between 55 and 64 suffer from diseases such as diabetes, high-blood pressure and lung cancer at rates up to twice those seen among similar aged people in England, reports the study, published on 3 May in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

By analysing a large representative sample of people from each country, researchers from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, UCL (University College London) and RAND in the US found that English people were less likely to report suffering from a wide array of diseases. The differences were confirmed when researchers analysed separate studies that collected blood samples from participants to look for biological markers of disease showing that the differences were not just a result of Americans' increased willingness to report illness.

Professor James Smith, of RAND and one of the study's authors, says: "You don't expect the health of middle-aged people in these two countries to be too different, but we found that the English are a lot healthier than the Americans. "It's not just a difference in how people characterise their own health. The biological measures confirm there is a difference."

English people reported better health than their American peers across a range of illnesses. The prevalence of diabetes was nearly twice as high in the US (12.5 per cent) as compared to England (6.1 per cent), while high blood pressure was approximately 10 percentage points higher in the US than in England. Heart disease was 50 per cent higher among middle-aged Americans than the English, while the rates of stroke, lung disease and cancer were higher as well.

Reports of poorer health were seen for all socioeconomic groups in the US in comparison to their English peers, not just among the poor. With the exception of cancer, peo
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Contact: Judith Moore
judith.moore@ucl.ac.uk
44-773-330-7596
University College London
2-May-2006


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