American men are dead last and American women are second to last in life expectancy for residents of 17 high-income countries, likely as a result of inadequate healthcare, unhealthy behaviors, adverse economic and social conditions, all shaped by the country's public policies and social values, according to a report from the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine.
The 378-page report, called U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health, highlights how the U.S. lags behind countries such as Japan, Spain and France. The U.S. ranked last among 17 countries in male life expectancy and ahead of only Denmark in female life expectancy. The male life expectancy as of 2007 for U.S. men was 75.64 years, while for women it was 80.78 years. Men in Switzerland had the longest life expectancy—79.33 years—while women in Japan were expected to live the longest at 85.98 years.
The report also describes how the U.S. fares worse than the average in at least nine health areas: adolescent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections; chronic lung disease; disability; drug-related deaths; HIV and AIDS; heart disease; infant mortality and low birth weight; injuries and homicides; and obesity and diabetes.