Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Study: Canada Is Healthier Than U.S.

Obesity, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Arthritis More Common in the States
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

May 31, 2006 -- The U.S. is less healthy than its northern neighbor Canada, according to a new study.

The study appears in July's American Journal of Public Health. The researchers included Karen Lasser, MD, MPH, of Harvard Medical School and the medicine department at the Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts.

Data was gathered by Statistics Canada (the Canadian census office) and the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, a branch of the CDC. Between November 2002 and March 2003, interviews were done by telephone with 3,505 Canadians and 5,183 U.S. residents.

The results: "With the important exception of having lower rates of cigarette smoking, U.S. respondents were less healthy than Canadians, with higher rates of obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), arthritis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease," write Lasser and colleagues.

U.S., Canadian Health

Here's a closer look at the gap between the U.S. and Canada on various health conditions:

  • Obesity: 20.7% of U.S. respondents; 15.3% of Canadian respondents
  • Sedentary lifestyle: 13.6% of U.S. respondents; 6.5% of Canadian respondents
  • Diabetes: 6.7% of U.S. respondents; 4.7% of Canadian respondents
  • High blood pressure: 18.3% of U.S. respondents; 13.9% of Canadian respondents
  • Arthritis: 17.9% of U.S. respondents; 16% of Canadian respondents
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): 1.9% of U.S. respondents; 1% of Canadian respondents
  • Current daily smoking: 16.8% of U.S respondents; 19% of Canadian respondents

Heart disease, depression, and overweight BMI that falls short of obesity were similar in the U.S. and Canada, the study shows.

Health Care Findings

The survey also covered health care topics including routine screening, access to medical care, and satisfaction with medical care. Canada has a universal health insurance program; the U.S. doesn't.

"Compared with Canadians, U.S. residents are one-third less likely to have a regular medical doctor, one-fourth more likely to have unmet health care needs, and are more than twice as likely to forgo needed medicines," write Lasser and colleagues.

They add that "problems accessing medical care are particularly dire for the U.S. uninsured," and that while both countries had racial gaps in health, those gaps were wider in the U.S.

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
jennie brand miller

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner