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by Brian Shilhavy
Health Impact News Editor

A panel of experts initiated by the National Institutes of Health and consisting of members from the National Research Council (NRC) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report recently entitled U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health. The panel compared “health outcomes” with those of 16 comparable high-income or “peer”countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Since you helped pay for this study via your tax dollars, you should know what this panel, called “The Panel on Understanding Cross-National Health Differences Among High-Income Countries,” found as a result of their study:

Over this time period, we uncovered a strikingly consistent and pervasive pattern of higher mortality and inferior health in the United States, beginning at birth:

  • For many years, Americans have had a shorter life expectancy than people in almost all of the peer countries. For example, as of 2007, U.S. males lived 3.7 fewer years than Swiss males and U.S. females lived 5.2 fewer years than Japanese females.
  • For the past three decades, this difference in life expectancy has been growing, especially among women.
  • The health disadvantage is pervasive—it affects all age groups up to age 75 and is observed for multiple diseases, biological and behavioral risk factors, and injuries.

So this was not a study comparing the United States with poorer countries, but high-income “peer” countries. Also, statistics from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an international economic group comprised of 34 member nations, shows that the U.S. spends about two and half times more on healthcare than most other countries!

What are the Causes of Poor Health in the U.S.?

While this report gave many possible explanations for why the U.S. has such poor health, this study really did not address that question. The study identified the problems which are quantifiable, but the possible causes were pure speculation and ranged from things such as failure to wear seat belts to poverty and a lack of education. Seeing that this report was created by the government, the possible causes and solutions were naturally related more to government involvement.

Unfortunately, today’s government is NOT the solution to our health problems in the U.S. As we have reported frequently here at Health Impact News, government agencies that were originally created to protect public health, are more often than not doing just the opposite, and looking out for corporate interests in the “healthcare” system. Of course “healthcare” is not appropriately named, because it is only a “medical care” system run by the pharmaceutical companies. Pharmaceutical companies now comprise the top sector of criminal activities, with convictions of criminal activity of just about every major drug company in the last few years totaling many billions of dollars, and representing hundreds of thousands of deaths (See: Pharmaceutical companies now among largest corporate criminals in the world: no better than white-collar drug dealers).

And yet, the US Food and Drug Administration has become barely nothing more than a marketing wing for these pharmaceutical companies, looking out for their corporate interest. As we have reported many times, the FDA regularly attacks those who promote natural methods of healing where no corporate patent is possible and the remedy is readily available to the masses, in favor of drug companies willing to spend many millions of dollars on research to make a patented drug (See, for example these recent stories: FDA Can Now Remove Any Dietary Supplement from the Market – Easier Than They Can Remove Drugs, and FDA Gives Sole Herbal Product Rights to Big Pharma). The FDA believes that it has sole authority to make health claims, and any product that makes unapproved health claims, no matter how harmless that product may be, is subject to being shut down and having its owners (often of small businesses or farms) arrested. We are losing our health freedom in the United States, and most Americans don’t even know it is happening (See: FTC More Dangerous than FDA: Will Only Allow Drugs to Make Health Claims and link above by Attorney Jonathan Emord).

So if we are going to understand the causes of these problems with American’s health in the U.S., we need to realize that the solutions must come outside of government, or we will have no hope. The government cannot ignore the problems, but it is not politically correct for them to identify the true causes to these problems.

Starting with one of the quantifiable problems this report identified, let me offer some solutions that are real solutions to real causes of poor health.

Real Causes and Real Solutions to the Health Problems in the U.S.

America’s Addiction to Prescription Drugs: Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.

One of the problems clearly identified in this study is that more Americans die from drugs, including (and especially) prescription drugs, than all the other countries in this study. The medical system is by far the leading cause of death in the United States today, killing more people than heart disease or cancer (See: Modern Medical Care is a Leading Cause of Death). Deaths due to prescription drugs alone are over 100,000 a year, far exceeding deaths due to illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine. America’s addiction to prescription drugs is such a serious epidemic today, that hospitals are trying to cope with the huge numbers of babies being born addicted to these prescription drugs that are so widely used during pregnancy.

Pharmaceutical companies are the most lucrative businesses in the U.S. with a powerful lobbying force that allows them to get legal protection for just about anything they want to do. If even just a small fraction of the U.S. population stopped buying drugs and started getting well, our entire economy would collapse. Even “non-profit” organizations that were originally started to find cures to diseases, such as the American Cancer Society, have become huge organizations that collect hundreds of millions of dollars in donations, and government aid with your tax dollars on top of that, and yet have offered no real cures for diseases, just more drugs. If they did find a natural cure, or even a simply way to prevent disease, just think of all the jobs that would be lost in these huge organizations (See: American Cancer Society: The World’s Wealthiest “Nonprofit” Institution is Losing the War on Cancer).

The solution to this problem is actually a simple one: stop taking drugs! Don’t look to the government to solve this problem. They profit from the current system as much as the drug companies do. Americans need to exercise what few freedoms they have left in a semi-free market economy and start making better health choices, before there are no choices left. Drugs seldom deliver what is promised anyway, and there is one whole class of drugs (antidepressants) that has been factually proven to be no more effective than placebos.

America is a nation of prescription drug addicts, and until we acknowledge this problem and deal with it, prescription drugs will continue to be the #1 cause of death in the U.S. Not only do these drugs kill people, the side effects of many of them are linked to violent behavior and the increase in mass shootings we are seeing increasingly in our society. So innocent people are also dying as a result of this addiction to prescription drugs (See: Should We Be Looking at Prescription Drugs for a Possible Cause of Increase in Mass Murders?).

Ironically, users of natural drugs with no violent side effects, such as cannabis (marijuana), are locked up and fill our jails and prisons at a great cost to taxpayers because of the “war on drugs”, as these drugs cannot even be obtained for legitimate medical purposes. Even though several states have legalized the medical use of cannabis, the federal government continues prosecuting and pursuing users of these drugs, presumably to protect the pharmaceutical monopoly on “cures.” (See: Legal Drugs vs. Illegal Drugs: Are we fighting the Right War?)

Vaccines: Destroying the Health of Future Generations for the “Greater Good”

In 2011, something happened without a lot of fanfare in the “mainstream” media and something which many Americans are probably unaware of. On February 22, 2011 the U.S. Supreme Court shielded drug companies from all liability for harm caused by vaccines (Story and commentary here). With total immunity, vaccines can now be rushed into the market without fear of being sued if they cause harm. According to the FDA’s own records, vaccines are more likely to be pulled from the market due to safety concerns than any other class of drug.

American babies now get more vaccines prior to age one than any other country:

Is it a coincidence, or a positive correlation, that the United States also has the highest infant mortality rates?

The possible link was studied in 2011 in a article titled: Infant mortality rates regressed against number of vaccine doses routinely given: Is there a biochemical or synergistic toxicity?, appearing in “Human & Experimental Toxicology.” You can read it here.

For those babies that survive such an aggressive vaccine schedule, what is it doing to their health? It was announced last year that the rate of autism in the United States had dramatically increased to one out of every 88 children. While the government’s official position is that there is no link between vaccines and autism, there is ample evidence to suggest otherwise, and a Congressional hearing convened to look at the issue at the end of 2012. This two-day event, the first in 10 years, was almost completely ignored by the “mainstream” media. You can see video highlights here.

While the government continues to ignore many of the adverse effects of vaccines, many studies are now coming out looking at the records of the government’s own Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) database, and the statistics are alarming, to say the least. Here are a couple of recently published studies: Mortality Rate 50% Higher with More Vaccine Doses and 4,250% Increase in Fetal Deaths Reported to VAERS After Flu Shot Given to Pregnant Women.

Documenting all the evidence for the harm that vaccines cause is beyond the scope of this article. Much of this evidence has been published on Health Impact News over the past two years, and you can get a list of articles by keyword “vaccines” by clicking here.

The solution to this problem is not so easy, because of the denial of the problem by the U.S. government, and the lack of media coverage in the “mainstream” media.

Why the denial? I believe the reasons are twofold:

1. There are serious legal complications if the government were to come out and admit that vaccines do harm people. We have seen already that they have legal immunity at this present time, and any admission of harm by the government could threaten that immunity, and the entire vaccine industry.

2. There is an underlying belief in the “greater good,” and that even though some people do suffer harm from vaccines, that vaccines are needed to prevent serious diseases and the supposed “greater good.”

Since the U.S. ranks last in the world in health, however, I think it is time to re-examine the presupposition that vaccines prevent diseases. Most of the serious diseases of the past were already in decline long before vaccines were introduced, and the evidence that vaccines wiped out these diseases is sorely lacking. The correlation is much stronger in linking improved sanitation and living conditions to the decrease in these diseases.

In addition, there is serious evidence now that these diseases are returning, and in spite of the blame being put on unvaccinated children and the unproven hypothesis of “herd immunity”, the FACTS show that it is mostly vaccinated people that are spreading whooping cough, chicken pox, and measles. (See: Whooping Cough Spreads Among Pertussis Vaccinated – Serious Chicken Pox Outbreak in Indiana is Among Vaccinated Children – Outbreaks of Measles in Vaccinated Children Intensifying – Vaccinated Population Contracting and Spreading Disease They were Vaccinated For).

So the solution is first education on the facts, not the beliefs, surrounding the risks versus benefits of vaccines. The “mainstream” media needs to get to work and do its job of investigative reporting, and not simply towing the party line on vaccines. Next, legislation needs to be pursued at the local and national level to retain health freedom and the choice to refuse vaccines due to the risk.

Food: Industrial Ag Among a Few Elite Companies Leaves Few Choices for Healthy Food

When the United States won its independence from Britain in 1776, about 90% of Americans were in agriculture producing food. By the time Abraham Lincoln became president, that number had dropped to about 50% of the population producing food for the other 50%.

Today, less than 1% of the American population is involved in producing food. We have turned over most of our food supply to a few corporate elites that mass produce our food. Could industrial agriculture and mass produced food be one reason why Americans do not have good health?

The GMO Debate

Genetically modified foods have only been around since the 1990s, and we have yet to see what their long-term effects are on human health. The companies that produce GMO foods have tremendous political clout, with more lobbyists per person in Congress than any other trade sector. This graph at showing the influence of one GMO company on U.S. politics is very telling (click to expand):

Polls have shown that Americans are concerned about eating GMO foods, and yet the United States is one of the few countries that does NOT require GMO food to be labeled. Therefore Americans are eating far more GMO foods than citizens of other countries who have a choice due to labeling laws. Some countries have an outright ban on GMO foods altogether!

Image from

Since GMO seeds are patented, research done on their safety is almost all done by the same companies that produce them, due to patent laws. Those who are anti-GMO are ridiculed as being “unscientific,” but the question really is: Where is the science that shows these new foods in the food chain are not harmful? See: The GM Lobby and Its ‘Seven Sins Against Science’.

The solution to this problem again rests with the consumer, and not the government. It takes a lot more effort, but start buying your food from trusted sources and start bypassing the industrial food complex and its mass-produced food. If not enough people start doing this, the corporate elites will soon force the smaller producers out of business and we will have no food choices left.


These three causes and proposed solutions are certainly not exhaustive. We didn’t even broach the subject of nutrition and why the government promotes one dietary philosophy over others (See Are America’s Nutrition Professionals in the Pocket of Big Food? for example.) But one thing is clear: the U.S. ranks first in “healthcare” spending, but ranks last in life expectancy and health. These facts are indisputable. As to the cause of this problem, and therefore the solution, who are you going to trust? The government and the “mainstream” media? Do your own research and find out the facts for yourself, and make intelligent choices based on those facts, and then educate others. If you do not, soon we will have no choices left – at least not within the United States.

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