Malcolm Gladwell talks about a study conducted by a group of epidemiologists at University College London looking at the relative health of the US and UK. Here's what they came up with:
The first conclusion is that Americans are really, really sick compared to the British. In every socio-economic group, for instance, the prevalence of diabetes is roughly double in the United States than it is in the United Kingdom. Rates of hypertension, heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, lung disease and cancer are also all higher in the United States. And not just a little big higher. Much higher. So, for example, 2.3 percent of the English have had a stroke, versus 3.8 percent of the Americans.
There's a lot of juggling going on in how the studying was conducted and how the results should be interpreted, but:
The study’s author did a statistical exercise, where they assumed that the British group had exactly the same lifestyle risk factors as their American counterparts. The result? Nothing much changes. Americans were still far sicker than the British.
The conclusion they reach (and Gladwell supports) is that it comes down to this:
Krugman argues that this is evidence of how much more stressful living in America is than living in England.
I think it would be interesting to see work done to identify the significant stressors and then follow up with studies in other countries to see whether this is supported. Now I'm going to relax with a big glass of wine and a bowl of Ben & Jerry's.