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American Men Are Sicker Than Others In High-Income Countries

The health of men in the US is worse off than their international peers in pretty much every parameter.


Tom Hale

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

Senior Journalist

American man holding a loudspeaker in front a US flag light display in Times Square, New York City.
American man holding a loudspeaker in front a US flag light display in Times Square, New York City. Image credit: elbud/

American men are way less healthy than their peers in comparable wealthy countries, according to a new report by the Commonwealth Fund. The report looked at men's relationship to healthcare system in 11 high-income countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, the UK, and the US.

When it came to the highest rate of avoidable deaths, the rate of chronic conditions, and the risk of having hypertension, men in the US scored the highest. 


Their mental health needs were also 2nd highest out of the studied countries, beaten only by Australia. The US saw the highest percentage of men who reported having at least one medical bill problem and cost-related access problems. 

It wasn’t all bad for men in the US. The only field in which American men were beating their international peers was prostate cancer, with US men having the lowest rate of prostate cancer-related deaths among the 11 countries.

Other than that, however, things aren’t looking too good for the men of America and as ever, it's those with a lower income who are the hardest hit. 

“While doing relatively well in prostate cancer care and treatment, the United States compares poorly to most other high-income nations when it comes to receipt of preventive care and affordability of care,” the study concludes.


“And on nearly every health care measure we studied, men in the U.S. with income insecurity fared the worst. As a result, American men, particularly those with lower incomes and financial stress, have the poorest health outcomes,” the authors added.

It isn’t just men who are feeling the sting of the US healthcare system. Another report by the Commonwealth Fund released in April 2022 found that women of reproductive age were also doing badly in the US compared to the 10 other high-income countries. They found that rates of death from avoidable causes, including pregnancy-related complications, were highest in the US and the rate of women with chronic conditions was also top in the US. 

“Our analysis dramatizes the failings of the U.S. health care system with respect to men and complements our recent analysis of health and health care for women of reproductive age,” the new study concludes.


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