From the Womb to the Tomb
The United States, the richest country in the world, currently ranks 27th in the health of its citizens. Lagging behind not only most of the rich countries, but a few poor ones as well. Fifty years ago, the US was among the top five. What happened in the past five decades to cause this decline? Bezruchka explains that an increasing stratification between the rich and the poor plays a major role. Life spans and infant mortality rates depend very much on the hierarchal structure of a society. And new research shows that half of what influences our health as adults is largely determined before the age of five. What can we learn from other countries whose citizens live longer and healthier lives?
Dr. Stephen Bezruchka is on the faculty of the Department of Health Systems and Population Health at the University of Washington. He worked for many years as an emergency physician in Seattle. He worked in Nepal for more than a decade where he helped set up a community health project a week’s walk from the road. He also established a remote district hospital for training Nepali doctors whom he supervised. He is the author of Inequality Kills Us All: COVID-19’s Health Lessons for the World.