Despite spending the most money in the world on health care, the US ranks lower than China, Latvia and Mauritius in women’s health.
Countries with higher incomes and higher per capita health spending generally score better on women’s health, including longer life expectancy, according to data from a Hologic survey of 127,000 people in 122 countries.
“However, the United States remains a well-documented exception,” the report warns.
For example, the country spends almost twice as much on health care as the OECD average, yet has lower life expectancy.
Life expectancy at birth in the United States has been declining since 2020. Although it varies by age, gender, race, ethnicity, and even the state in which a person lives, life expectancy in the United States currently stands at around 76 years. This is the lowest estimate since 1996.
In contrast, other countries that reinvested wealth into their health systems scored higher on the health index. Austria, with a life expectancy of 81, scored 67 in the survey, while Switzerland scored 66 and had a life expectancy of 83. Taiwan topped the list with a score of 70 and a life expectancy of 81.
The US spends more on health care than any other country in the world, yet ranks 23rd overall with an overall score of 61.
Nearly a quarter of women in the US can’t afford food
Data show that women’s ability to meet their basic needs, such as affording food, is declining globally. In addition, women were more likely than men to say they did not have enough money to afford food.
In general, concerns about food and shelter are relatively absent in high-income economies.
But again, the exception to this rule is in the US
The survey asked respondents to: During the past 12 months, how many times have you not had enough money to buy the food you or your family needs? Also, during the past 12 months, have you had any number of times when you did not have enough money to provide you and your family with adequate shelter or housing?
In Sweden and Singapore, only a small number of women answered “yes” to both questions – according to the report, this was in the “low single digits”.
Yet in the U.S., 23 percent of women say they will sometimes be unable to afford food in 2021.
Women’s emotional health is also on the decline
Despite hopes that the COVID-19 pandemic might be a balancing act for women, surveys show women’s health is even worse than when essential health services were disrupted during the pandemic.
Globally, the index shows that the health status of most women has not improved in 2021, and the health status of many already vulnerable women has deteriorated.
Globally, as women find it harder to afford basic living expenses and feel less safe—nearly 1 billion women will feel unsafe walking alone at night where they live by 2021—their emotional health suffers.
As a result, women in 2021 are more stressed, worried, angry and sad than in 2020 or at any point in the past decade.
In 2021, more than four in 10 women say they feel worried (43%) and stressed (41%) most of the day, nearly a third feel sad (32%), and more than four One in 10 women felt angry (26 percent) — all record levels. Over the course of a year, stress, worry and anger each increased by three percentage points, while sadness increased significantly by six percentage points.
Of course, women are not alone in feeling stressed or negative. However, the gap between men and women reporting they feel this way is widening, with gaps of at least five points for anger and sadness. Women are also more likely than men to experience severe stress and anxiety.
According to the report, “the future for women will be better when as many women as possible don’t experience too much worry, sadness, stress or anger in a typical day. Currently, these numbers are at new highs, the same as in 2020.” Reducing the incidence of these negative emotions is much more challenging than today.”
“Understanding how women feel – and how it differs from men – is critical to developing strategies to improve women’s emotional health,” it added.
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