Last week I read an article in McKnights’s Long Term Care entitled Study: Older Americans far less healthy than older Europeans. The study by researchers at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, found that US adults aged 50 and older are twice as likely as older European adults to have a number of chronic diseases. Many of the diseases are related to obesity and smoking, causing chronic conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes.

As the study noted, this gap exists despite the fact that the US spends more on health care than any European country.

Reading this study reminded me of the movie Sicko, which came out this summer. Produced by Michael Moore, the controversial Academy Award winning documentary film maker, the movie investigates the American health care system, focusing on its for-profit health insurance and pharmaceutical industry and compares the non-universal and for-profit U.S. system with the universal and non-profit systems of Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Cuba.

A lot of people didn’t agree with the message from the movie and felt that the health care systems both in the US and the other countries were misrepresented. But you sometime need to exaggerate to get the point across. Exaggeration or not, I have recommended the movie to everyone I know – and the importance of the message is reflected in the fact that health care has reappeared as a major issue in the US presidential race.

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