This week, you explore many resources that shine a light on the health of the United States (U.S.) population as it compares to the populations of many other countries. Where is America leading the way in population health? Where do other countries outperform the U.S.? How do key health indicators differ among individual states?
Among developed nations, the U.S. is the only country that offers no support to families during the most critical periods in which health is determined (i.e., during the first months and years of a newborn’s life). Given the importance of early life, countries that use the political structure to provide support for their populations during that critical period of growth and development tend to be healthier than those who leave parenting to market forces. It is, therefore, not surprising that the U.S. ranks 33rd in life expectancy, according to the United Health Foundation (United Health Foundation, 2013).
This week you examine health indicators used to measure the health of the U.S. population and contrast them to other countries around the world. You also consider various determinants of health within different states in the U.S. as well as across continents.When the health of a population is measured by various mortality indicators such as life expectancy, infant or child mortality, or the chances of surviving to retirement, surprising trends emerge. Health, as measured by longevity, appears to be declining in substantial segments of the U.S. population, especially for women (United Health Foundation, 2013). These findings receive little attention in most public health efforts or in the mainstream media, at least in the United States.
For this Assignment, you select health indicators used to measure the health of the U.S. population and contrast them to other countries around the world. You compare various determinants of health within different states in the United States as well as across continents.
To prepare for this Assignment, complete the readings and view the media in your Learning Resources. Install the free Gapminder Desktop tool and experiment plotting different health outcomes against various determinants already loaded along the two axes. Using the various health ranking resources provided, select two key health indicators for which the United States ranks lower than other nations.
The Assignment (3–4 pages):
- Provide a brief description of the two health indicators you selected, citing specific sources.
- Explain how the U.S. ranks on these indicators compared to other nations.
- Explain two factors that might influence those rankings and the relative standing of the U.S. compared to the other nations.
- Determine which two states rank the best and which two states rank the worst for those indicators. Describe factors you believe might contribute to those relative rankings among the states.
- Share any insights you gained or conclusions you drew as a result of making these comparisons.
- Expand on your insights utilizing the Learning Resources.