Recent studies have found that Americans between ages 55 and 64 are less healthy as compared to their British counterparts, but live longer than the latter.

RAND Corporation and the Institute for Fiscal Studies in London noted that Americans have higher rates of chronic diseases than their peers in England; they died at about the same rate.

Americans older than 65 years were found to be sicker and had lower death rates as compared to people of the same age group in England, according to findings published in the journal Demography.

The paper co-authored by James Banks and Alastair Muriel of the Institute for Fiscal Studies and James P. Smith, distinguished chair in labor markets and demographic studies at RAND, said "If you get sick at older ages, you will die sooner in England than in the United States."

Twice as much of Americans in the age group are prone to diseases as diabetes as compared to those in the U.K.
Two comparable surveys were analyzed before making conclusions; and researchers looked at prevalence of diabetes among those between ages 55 and 64 and those between 70 and 80. Death rates were also taken into consideration for the study.

Findings suggest Americans are more prone to diseases than Britons. Diabetes rates were noted to be twice as high in the U.S. as in England.

However, death rates among Americans were nearly the same in the younger generation during the period taken for study.

There could be two reasons why death rates are higher. Experts noted that these diseases might have led to higher mortality in England, and maybe people in England are diagnosed at later stages as compared to Americans.

"Both of these explanations imply that there is higher-quality medical care in the United States than in England, at least in the sense that these chronic illnesses are less likely to cause death among people living in the United States," Smith said.

"The United States' health problem is not fundamentally a health care or insurance problem, at least at older ages," Banks said. "It is a problem of excess illness and the solution to that problem may lie outside the health care delivery system. The solution may be to alter lifestyles or other behaviors."They also analyzed wealth positions of these individuals.

Researchers noted that the poor seems to be hit first; poor health thereby leading to a decline in wealth. Substantial falls in wealth led to deaths.

The research was supported by grants from the U.S. National Institute on Aging and the U.K. Economic and Social Research Council.