Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Capitalism works

Advances to Be Thankful For, Life Is Getting Measurably Better for Many People Here and Abroad By Melinda Beck in the Wall Street Journal

News about health often focuses on the negative: scary new flu viruses, incurable diseases, dashed hopes for miracle drugs. Maybe that's because we have such high expectations that doctors and scientists can fix anything.

But amid all that bad news—not to mention the acrimony over health-care reform—it's easy to overlook how much progress has been made in recent years. Here are 20 health-care advances to give thanks for this Thanksgiving:

• Nearly 62% of U.S. adults said they were in excellent or very good health, along with 82% of their children,

• Fewer Americans died in traffic fatalities in 2008 than in any year since 1961, and fewer were injured than in any year since 1988

Life expectancy in the U.S. reached an all-time high of 77.9 years in 2007

Death rates dropped significantly for eight of the 15 leading causes of death in the U.S.

The death rate from coronary heart disease dropped 34% from 1995 to 2005

The death rate from cancer, the second-biggest killer, dropped 16% from 1990 to 2006

Nearly 40% of U.S. adults have never had a permanent tooth extracted

Three out of 10 U.S. schoolchildren aged 5 to 17 in 2007 did not miss a single day of school

• Hip fractures—which can rob elderly patients of their mobility forever—are down nearly 30% in the U.S. and Canada since 1985

• Thanks in part to vaccines, the rate of acute viral hepatitis A dropped 90% between 1995 and 2006, and acute viral hepatitis B dropped 88% from 1982 to 2006

• Thanks largely to antiretroviral drugs, U.S. deaths from AIDS dropped 10% from 2006 to 2007, the biggest decline since 1998, and they remain well below the 1995 peak

World-wide, more than four million people in low- and middle-income countries were receiving antiretroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS at the end of 2008, a 36% increase in one year and a 10-fold increase over five years.

• The proportion of undernourished children world-wide under five years of age declined to 20% in 2005 from 27% in 1990.

• Chalk this one up as an advance for mental health: The U.S. divorce rate dropped by one-third from 1981 to 2008, and is at its lowest level since 1970

• From 2006 to 2008, the median percentage of U.S. secondary schools that don't sell soda rose to 64% from 38%

• Around the world, 27% fewer children died before their fifth birthday in 2007 than in 1990

• The amount of trans fats in packaged food has declined by about 50% since 2006

• Twenty-seven countries reported a reduction of up to 50% in the number of malaria cases between 1990 and 2006.

Source:Mark Perry- Carpe Diem

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