Guns a Big Factor in American Poor Health.

Guns a Big Factor in American Poor Health. 

Despite the patriotic myths, Americans have shorter lives than other wealthy nations. According to the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine, American men have the lowest life expectancy of 17 of the wealthiest countries including Canada, Japan, and the highest-income European nations. American women are next lowest. Guns, it appears, are a major factor for American poor health. Americans are 20 times more likely to die in a shooting than our peers around the world and 17 times more likely in a homicide.  Blame is placed on America’s irrational view of individualism and personal autonomy. Apparently many of us think it’s nobody’s business how and if we live or die. Advanced nations deal with dangerous widespread social health issues that some Americans demonize as government interference. The U.S. culture of violence, cars, uninsured motorists, lack of preventative medicine and weak outpatient care contribute to poor health. Also sited were preventative health issues like inoculations, water treatment, pollution and toxic waste. Americans have a higher rate of infant mortality from poor prenatal care, overweight and diabetes from poor diet, sexually transmitted disease, drug abuse, alcohol injuries and lack of care for those with disabilities. According to the Director of Human Needs Council, who issued the poor grade on America’s Health, “We know what to do. It is a matter of acting as society to fund the resources.” He might have added, “instead of floundering in selfish beliefs of anti-government.”

Richard Dorsey, Hacienda Heights, CA

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