We blog about steroids as a public health problem here. However, there is far more wrong in the USA public health domain than just steroids. Recent reports show that health care in the US is #42 (by one measure) and falling. The New York Times editorial is found here:
Yes, Cuba's. Babies are less likely to survive in America, with a health care system that we think is the best in the world, than in impoverished and autocratic Cuba. According to the latest C.I.A. World Factbook, Cuba is one of 41 countries that have better infant mortality rates than the U.S.
Since 1958, the infant mortality rate fell in the US. However in 2002, the trend reversed. Infant mortality rose. It appears infant mortality is higher in New York than in Beijing China. That's progress, huh?
"America's children are at greater risk than they've been in for at least a decade," said Dr. Irwin Redlener, associate dean at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and president of the Children's Health Fund. "The rising rate of infant mortality is an early warning that we're headed in the wrong direction, with no relief in sight."
The bad news continues with life expectancy. New York Times again:
Americans are living longer than ever, but not as long as people in 41 other countries.
For decades, the United States has been slipping in international rankings of life expectancy, as other countries improve health care, nutrition and lifestyles.
Countries that surpass the U.S. include Japan and most of Europe, as well as Jordan, Guam and the Cayman Islands...
A baby born in the United States in 2004 will live an average of 77.9 years. That life expectancy ranks 42nd, down from 11th two decades earlier, according to international numbers provided by the Census Bureau and domestic numbers from the National Center for Health Statistics.
We talk about the racial issue with regard to Barry Bonds. Here is a worse situation: the mortality for black males in the country lags behind other groups...by almost 9 years.
Black American males have a life expectancy of 69.8 years, slightly longer than the averages for Iran and Syria and slightly shorter than in Nicaragua and Morocco.
This is about more than national health service, but about obesity and poverty, and a shift of money to the wealthy. Clearly over 40 million Americans who don't have health insurance coverage (and thus receive less than optimal health care) is a factor, however there are other factors:
-- Adults in the United States have one of the highest obesity rates in the world. Nearly a third of U.S. adults 20 years and older are obese, while about two-thirds are overweight, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
''The U.S. has the resources that allow people to get fat and lazy,'' said Paul Terry, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Emory University in Atlanta. ''We have the luxury of choosing a bad lifestyle as opposed to having one imposed on us by hard times.''
-- Racial disparities. Black Americans have an average life expectancy of 73.3 years, five years shorter than white Americans.
-- A relatively high percentage of babies born in the U.S. die before their first birthday, compared with other industrialized nations.
Steroid and PED use is a public health problem. Steroid abusers contribute to morbidity (high blood pressure, severe heat problems, hepatitis, infections, psychiatric conditions) mortality (pro wrestlers and pro cyclists who dope show a propensity to die young), and legal problems. However, this is just a small part of the overall public health decline in the USA.
(Note: someone loves us: Thanks Slav!)