Data on potentially modifiable causes of health loss, or risk factors, such as improved nutrition and increased physical activity can help policymakers and donors prioritize prevention strategies to achieve better population health.
The rise in physical activity levels will have a positive health impact on Americans by reducing death and chronic disability from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. But the trend has had little impact so far on stopping the rising tide of obesity.
This policy report presents key findings from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010 (GBD 2010) for the US and documents trends in nearly 300 different diseases and injuries that are killing people prematurely and disabling them. The report sheds light on the substantial health threat posed by potentially modifiable risk factors such as poor diet, high body mass index, and lack of physical activity. It also provides an in-depth look at life expectancy, obesity, and physical activity in US counties.
The United States spends more than any other country on health care, but US life expectancy at birth ranked 40th for males and 39th for females globally in 2010. To help understand this poor national performance, as well as the large disparities seen in life expectancy across communities, researchers estimated age-specific mortality rates for males and females by US county from 1985 to 2010.
Obesity and lack of physical activity are associated with several chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, increased health care costs, and premature death. Since different local governments have pursued different approaches to address both risks, levels of obesity and physical activity are likely to vary substantially across counties. To understand local trends in physical activity and obesity that would help identify successful and less successful strategies, researchers examined county-level changes in physical activity and obesity between 2001 and 2011.
To better inform national health policy, it is critical to understand the major health problems in the United States and how they are changing over time. Using data from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010 (GBD 2010), researchers compared health outcomes in the US with those of the 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).