Tag Archives: disability

Understanding Life Expectancy in the U.S.: Analysis Behind the Numbers

Over the past 25 years, life expectancy has been rising in the United States at a slower pace than has been achieved in many other high-income countries. Consequently, the United States has been falling steadily in the world rankings for level of life expectancy, and the gap between the United States and countries with the highest achieved life expectancies has been widening, especially for women.

The National Resource Council has recently released a report on this subject, Explaining Divergent Levels of Longevity in High-Income Countries. We asked Barney Cohen, Director of the Committee on Population, for his comments:

“The relatively poor performance of the United States over the past 25 years is surprising given the country spends far more on health care than any other nation in the world, both absolutely and as a percentage of gross national product. Concerned about this divergence, the National Institute on Aging asked the National Research Council’s Committee on Population to examine evidence on possible causes. The panel concluded that a history of heavy smoking and elevated levels of obesity are two factors that are playing a substantial role in the relatively poor performance of the United States. The report should be of interest to both health researchers and policymakers.”

Explaining Divergent Levels of Longevity in High-Income Countries identifies some of the main factors that have been driving differences in life expectancy among wealthy countries and discusses research gaps. This book points out that factors that contribute to lower life expectancy are more common among people of lower social status and those who are less likely to have lifetime access to health care.

A related book, International Differences in Mortality at Older Ages: Dimensions and Sources, is a collection of papers written by experts in the field to provide an assessment of the plausibility of the most obvious possible explanations that have been advanced to explain the poor position of the United States in terms of life expectancy above age 50. The authors, all of whom are at the forefront of work in their fields, provide state-of-the-art assessments of the research and identify gaps in measurement, data, theory, and research design.

These books and others from the Committee on Population can inform debate and guide decision-making.

Explaining Divergent Levels of Longevity in High-Income Countries
Explaining Divergent Levels of Longevity in High-Income Countries

Over the last 25 years, life expectancy at age 50 in the U.S. has been rising, but at a slower pace than in many other high-income countries, such as Japan and Australia. This difference is particularly notable given that the U.S. spends more on health care…
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International Differences in Mortality at Older Ages
International Differences in Mortality at Older Ages: Dimensions and Sources

In 1950 men and women in the United States had a combined life expectancy of 68.9 years, the 12th highest life expectancy at birth in the world. Today, life expectancy is up to 79.2 years, yet the country is now 28th on the list, behind the United Kingdom,…
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Assessing the Impact of Severe Economic Recession on the Elderly
Assessing the Impact of Severe Economic Recession on the Elderly: Summary of a Workshop

The economic crisis that began in 2008 has had a significant impact on the well-being of certain segments of the population and its disruptive effects can be expected to last well into the future. The National Institute on Aging (NIA), which is concerned with…
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Conducting Biosocial Surveys
Conducting Biosocial Surveys: Collecting, Storing, Accessing, and Protecting Biospecimens and Biodata

Recent years have seen a growing tendency for social scientists to collect biological specimens such as blood, urine, and saliva as part of large-scale household surveys. By combining biological and social data, scientists are opening up new fields of inquiry…
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Improving the Measurement of Late-Life Disability in Population Surveys
Improving the Measurement of Late-Life Disability in Population Surveys: Beyond ADLs and IADLs: Summary of a Workshop

Improving the Measurement of Late-Life Disability in Population Surveys summarizes a workshop organized to draw upon recent advances to improve the measurement of physical and cognitive disability in population surveys of the elderly population. The…
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Biosocial Surveys
Biosocial Surveys

Biosocial Surveys analyzes the latest research on the increasing number of multipurpose household surveys that collect biological data along with the more familiar interviewerrespondent information. This book serves as a follow-up to the 2003 volume,…
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Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises
Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises

Worldwide, millions of people are displaced annually because of natural or industrial disasters or social upheaval. Reliable data on the numbers, characteristics, and locations of these populations can bolster humanitarian relief efforts and recovery programs. …
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New Books This Week on NAP

Friday brings us once again to the end of the work week and a roundup of the books that were new to nap.edu this week. Almost all of our books can be read online for free, and many have free PDFs to download, so check under each book’s title in this post for links to read online or if a free PDF is available.

Assessing and Improving Value in Cancer Care: Workshop Summary (final)

Unlike many other areas in health care, the practice of oncology presents unique challenges that make assessing and improving value especially complex. First, patients and professionals feel a well-justified sense of urgency to treat for cure, and if cure is not possible, to extend life and reduce the burden of disease. Second, treatments are often both life sparing and highly toxic. Third, distinctive payment structures for cancer medicines are intertwined with practice. Fourth, providers often face tremendous pressure to apply the newest technologies to patients who fail to respond to established treatments, even when the evidence supporting those technologies is incomplete or uncertain, and providers may be reluctant to stop toxic treatments and move to palliation, even at the end of life. Finally, the newest and most novel treatments in oncology are among the most costly in medicine.

This volume summarizes the results of a workshop that addressed these issues from multiple perspectives, including those of patients and patient advocates, providers, insurers, health care researchers, federal agencies, and industry. Its broad goal was to describe value in oncology in a complete and nuanced way, to better inform decisions regarding developing, evaluating, prescribing, and paying for cancer therapeutics.

Interacademy Programs Between the United States and Eastern Europe 1967-2009: The Changing Landscape (final)

Improving the Measurement of Late-Life Disability in Population Surveys: Beyond ADLs and IADLs: Summary of a Workshop (final)

Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public: A Summary of the February 2009 Summit (final)

Spectrum Management for Science in the 21st Century (prepublication)

Nurturing and Sustaining Effective Programs in Science Education for Grades K-8: Building a Village in California: Summary of a Convocation (final)