Study: Canadians live longer and in better health than Americans

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On average, Canadians enjoy 2.7 more years of “perfect health” than their southern neighbors, according to new research published in the journal Population Health Metrics. In the new study, a team from Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Oregon analyzed data from the 2002-2003 Joint Canada/United States Survey of Health to see how the two countries compared in terms of overall well-being and longevity. They found that, consistent with United Nations data on life expectancy, Canadian men and women tend to live longer (78 years for men, 83 for women) than American men (77) and women (81). Yet, in addition to greater life expectancy, the researchers found that Canadians also enjoy better quality health longer than Americans do.

The study authors say that in spite of similar cultures and standard of living, health discrepancies exist between the North American neighbors likely due to “substantial differences in social and economic equality” as well as “substantial differences in access to care”—or the fact that, unlike Americans, all Canadians have universal health care from birth. They say that more long-term data is necessary to better understand what drives the differences in national health.

Read the full study, “Comparing population health in the United States and Canada,” here.