The biggest problem with the U.S. health-care system is that it has long been designed to respond to illness rather than prevent it. [America’s Health Checkup via TIME]

“If you’re like 67% of Americans, you’re currently overweight or obese. If you’re like 27%, your blood pressure is too high. If you’re like a whopping 96% of the population, you may not be able to recall the last time you had a salad, since you’re one of the hundreds of millions of Americans who rarely eat enough vegetables. And what you do eat, you don’t burn off — assuming you’re like the 40% of us who get no exercise. Most troubling of all, if you’re like any parent of any child anywhere in the world, you may be passing your health habits to your children, which explains why experts fear that this generation of American kids may be the first ever to have a shorter life span than their parents do…”

“By too many measures, America is a lot less healthy than a developed nation has any business being. But just how sick — or just how well — are we? Broad national averages are limited things — very good at telling you the what, but notoriously bad at telling you much more. Who are the one-third of Americans who don’t have a weight problem, and how can the rest of us become like them? Why do some of us get our cancer screenings and make sure our kids are vaccinated while others don’t? It’s hard enough to get a thorough profile of any one person’s health outlook. Now imagine putting 300 million of us on the examining table together. That’s where TIME’s inaugural national health checkup can help. For this first annual feature, we’ve gone straight to the numbers to measure the vital signs of a 232-year-old nation that, let’s be honest, has let itself go a little lately. The results of such a collective physical are something that should concern us all.”

[5 Truths About Health Care in America via TIME]

  1. The U.S. spends far more on health care than any other nation.
  2. Yet the U.S. is not healthier for the money. We live shorter lives and have a higher infant-mortality rate than many other developed nations.
  3. Although smoking has been on the decline, Americans still don’t live heatlhy lives.
  4. The good news that more awareness and better treatments are curbing America’s top killers.
  5. Millions of Americans are at risk because they don’t have insurance or easy access to a doctor.

[President -Elect Obama’s FireWire Chats: Transparency Redefined? via RWW]

“…President Elect Obama’s transition team announced the weekly Democratic address will be posted on YouTube. Today we saw the first of these fireside chats go live on the new video wire. It’s clear that Obama and his team are extremely competent when it comes to the social Web, but it might be useful to examine some of the reasons behind his phenomenal success online, and look at a potential misconception.”