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/ by Tommy Kirchhoff /

HealthCare in Austria, China & The U.S.

My wife sent me this article about a high school football team bowing out of a game because of the risks: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130511940

I have thought for a while that football contributes in part to the health problems in the U.S. Think about how many boys play football through the high school level, and how many males get injured in their football "career." It's a lot. Also consider that our national sport of football has very few people "doing" it; generally, we sit on the couch and "watch it."

This got me thinking about the national sports of Austria and China. In Austria, skiing is the national sport; just about everyone skis. In China, it's martial arts; most people practice them, but especially Tai Chi.

There are lots of factors to a nation's health care profile: wealth of the nation, number of doctors, lifestyle, sanitation, etc. But when you look at some statistics, you might be surprised about the place you live in.

According to NationMaster.com, reviewing the top obesity countries, you might not be surprised that the U.S. is number one in the world. Austria is #24 and China's not on the list.

But you might be surprised that in the category of "probability of not reaching age 60," you have lots of the Kyrgyzstans, Uzbekistans; Georgia, Bulgaria, Latvia, Russia-- and then at #24 is the United States ! Austria is #31; China's not on the list !

In the category of "per capita government expenditure on health," the U.S. was number five with $2,368 spent per person per year. Austria was number 20 at $1,551 p.p.p.y. And China was #121, at a whopping $88.00 p.p.p.y.

Conversely, in the "private expenditure on health as a percentage of total expenditure on health," (meaning percent you pay for your own healthcare...), China ranked #26 at 66.3% (meaning they pay this percentage of their own costs). The U.S. ranks 51st with 55% out-of-pocket. And Austria ranks #116 at 30.1%.

In the category of "total population life expectancy," Austria is #15 with 79 years. The U.S. is #28 with 77 years. And China ties (for an adjusted spot) with 71 years.

In the category of "percentage of life lived in ill-health: female," The U.S. is #6. Austria is #27. And China is not on the list !

It can be said that the U.S. is the wealthiest of the three, but the most sedentary. Overall, we can live a long time, but not in the best of health. Likely, it can be said that we are at least as unhealthy as China, even though we're richer and have better healthcare.

It can be said that Austria is a fairly wealthy country, and that it's citizens, though they eat plenty of pastries and cheese, stay pretty active, live healthy lives, and live a long time. And Austria picks up most of the bill.

China may have wealth, but its money doesn't make it into the healthcare system. People have to take care of themselves. Adjusted to the fact that they have such a huge population, and fairly poor sanitation, it can be said that the Chinese do a much better job taking care of themselves than most countries. They have a much higher probability of reaching age 60 than we do; have far fewer females with ill health-- and that's on $88 government dollars per year !


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