Liberals shouldn't have to be reminded how fat Americans are, inasmuch as they are always chortling about it. A 2004 New York Times article leeringly quoted a foreign doctor, saying: "We Europeans, whenever we came to America, we always noticed the enormous number of obese people on the streets." I note that these are the same people who openly worship Michael Moore.
Somewhat surprisingly to those of us who have long admired France for its humanitarian smoking laws, until the mid-1980s, Americans had had the highest rate of smoking in the developed world. This makes patriotic Americans like me wonder if there's a way to get Michael Moore to start smoking. (You know, just to keep his weight down or whatever.)
To be fair, the French are still being exposed to large amounts of smoke due to all the cars being set on fire by Muslims.
In 2003, America led the world in smoking-related deaths among women -- followed by Hungary. Simply excluding all smoking-related deaths from the World Health Organization's comparison of life expectancies at age 50 in 20 developed nations would raise U.S. women's life expectancy from 17th to 7th place and lift American men from 14th to 9th place.
Americans are also more likely to die in military combat than the whimpering, pant-wetting cowards our military has spent the past 70 years defending -- I mean, than "our loyal European allies." This is a health risk Europeans have managed to protect themselves against by living in a world that contains the United States military.
These are risk factors that have nothing to do with the health care system. To evaluate the quality of our health care, you have to compare apples to apples by looking at outcomes for specific medical conditions.
Although the United States has a higher incidence of heart disease, cancer and diabetes compared to Europe -- because of lifestyle choices and genetics -- it also has better survival rates across the board for all these medical problems.
The most revealing international comparisons look at cancer survival rates, because of the universally extensive record-keeping for this disease.
A European study found that, compared to 18 European countries, the U.S. had strikingly higher five-year survival rates in all 12 cancers studied, except for one: stomach cancer. Even there, the survival rates were close -- and the difference was attributed to the location of the cancer in the stomach.
For all types of cancers, European men have only a 47.3 percent five-year survival rate, compared to 66.3 percent survival rate for American men. The greatest disparity was in prostate cancer, which American men are 28 percent more likely to survive than European men.
European women are only 55.8 percent likely to live five years after contracting any kind of cancer, compared to 62.9 percent for American women.
In five cancers -- breast, prostate, thyroid, testicular and skin melanoma -- American survival rates are higher than 90 percent. Europeans hit a 90 percent survival rate for only one of those -- testicular cancer.
Most disturbingly, many cancers in Europe are discovered only upon the victim's death -- twice as many as in the U.S. Consequently, the European study simply excluded cancers that were first noted on the death certificate, so as not to give the U.S. too great an advantage.
There are no national registries for heart disease, as there are for cancer, making survival-rate comparisons more difficult. But treatments can be measured and, again, Americans are far more likely to be on medication for heart disease and high cholesterol -- medications that extend the lives of millions, developed by those evil, profit-grubbing American drug companies.
To get to the comparison they like (America is not as good as Sweden!), liberals have to slip in the orange of "life expectancy," and hope no one will mention monster truck races, Krispy Kremes and Virginia Slims. As the old saying goes: Life doesn't last longer in socialist countries; it just feels like it.