U.S. Health Disadvantage: Causes and Potential Solutions

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Understand the U.S. health disadvantage, its causes, and what can be done to address it.

People in the United States have poorer health, more illness, and shorter lives than people in other wealthy countries. Americans pay too much for healthcare and lack adequate access to healthcare. This is called the U.S. health disadvantage.

The U.S. health disadvantage has its roots in neighborhoods and communities where the vital conditions that shape health are unmet for some residents. Communities that lack some or all of the vital conditions that shape health are considered “low-opportunity” neighborhoods.

Today’s business leaders can play a meaningful role in the lives of their employees, consumers, and communities. Helping communities meet the vital conditions that all people need to thrive can create opportunities for business.

For more information and citations, explore these CHEP resources:

  • What Is the U.S. Health Disadvantage? (fact sheet)
  • What Causes the U.S. Health Disadvantage? (fact sheet)
  • Businesses Have an Interest in Improving the Vital Conditions for Health, Wealth, and Well-Being (video)
    This brief animated video makes the case for why businesses can partner with others through a stakeholder approach to improving community health.
  • Community Health and Economic Prosperity: The Problem, the Causes, the Opportunities, and the Solutions—At a Glance (brief)
    This brief defines the U.S. health disadvantage and identifies what businesses can do to be part of a solution that strengthens businesses and improves the health of Americans.