We moved our family from the US (Maryland, just in case you didn’t know yet) to Belgium – no big deal. During the COVID-19 pandemic, in July-August 2020 – now we’re talking …
I wrote this post to document our journey. We were (and still are) extremely privileged to have been able to do this, in the conditions we did it. The journey is not over. I’ll update and continue to document it until we fall back into something more “normal” … [long post]
Continue reading “Moving from US to Belgium during a pandemic”
I’ve been using several Fitbit devices since a few years and I decided to stop using them in 2017. My feeling (like many people experienced before) is that wearable devices don’t work. Yes, you’ve read correctly: I was a big supporter of wearables, following the adage “what you can’t measure you can’t manage”, but not anymore.
Why do I write that? What works then? And what does that have to do with the title? Continue reading “Do you gain weight before moving to the USA?”
Yesterday, GOOD issued an infographic of America’s Aging Workforce (reproduced below). One of the key learning I take from it is that many Americans are unprepared for retirement. Indeed, the average American worker has saved $25,000 for retirement but it is estimated she/he will need $350,000 if she/he wishes to retire at 65 (i.e. 14 times more money!).
I was also wondering: after China and Belgium, how will the population age in the USA?
The US Census Bureau maintains national projections of the population and its latest data is from 2009. Among other things, it takes into account the resident population and demographic components of change (births, deaths, and net international migration). For international migration (in and out of the USA), there are four alternative assumptions (described in the method statement):
- in the High Net International Migration scenario, they increase the previously projected net international migration by a fixed ratio ;
- in the Low Net International Migration scenario, they decrease the same previously projected net international migration by the same fixed ratio ;
- the Constant Net International Migration scenario illustrates the effect a level trend in international migration would have if maintained over the projection period ;
- finally, in the Zero Net International Migration, the number of immigrants and emigrants is held constant at a value of zero for the entire projection period, thus assuming a closed population and no movement of individuals into or out of the United States.
By proceeding in this way, the overall number of migrants projected to enter or leave the population is (optionally) modified while maintaining the assumptions about the distributions of demographic characteristics.
Now, as expected, the American population is indeed aging. From approximately 12% in 2000 the population above 64 years old will increase to more than 21% in 2050 (in the constant scenario, see below). We also see an acceleration of the increasing number of elderly in the USA between 2010 and 2030. This US estimation is a bit lower than the estimations for China (>23%) and Belgium (>25%).
In the graph above, I took the Constant Net International Migration scenario as I consider it as the most conservative. When one plots all the scenarii, we can see the difference is not so big: the US population above 64 years old in 2050 will be between 19% (High scenario) and 23% (Zero scenario) of the total US population (see below).
The main issue remains to maintain older people as much as possible the same levels of health and independence as they enjoyed during their active lives. As highlighted by GOOD, America’s workforce will need to work well past age 65 to save enough money for retirement.
From Delicious, I saw that Yahoo had an article about the top 5 killers of men. I thought it would be nice to see from where they get there data.
First, I have to mention that the article is really about American men, nothing else (not about mankind, not about men around the world, not about women, children, etc.). The article is related to the US National Men’s Health Week (the US National Women’s Health Week was in May 8-14, 2011). Although the article is giving advices, there are no sources of information.
However, it’s rather easy to obtain these numbers …
For the US, the CDC FastStats website is a hub to data about health in the US. Here is the CDC ranking for the top 5 killers in 2007 (in both US women and men):
- Heart disease: 616,067 deaths
- Cancer: 562,875 deaths
- Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 135,952 deaths
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 127,924 deaths
- Accidents (unintentional injuries): 123,706 deaths
If you look at the whole world (data from the UN), the picture is somehow different! The UN ranking for the top 5 killers in 2008 (in both women and men) is:
- Lower respiratory infections: 1.05 million deaths
- Diarrhoeal diseases: 0.76 million deaths
- HIV/AIDS: 0.72 million deaths
- Ischaemic heart disease: 0.57 million deaths
- Malaria: 0.48 million deaths
All of them causes more than 45% of deaths around the world. These diseases with high-mortality vary in an important manner when we compare the USA and the whole world. The main caveat is that the data I presented above are for men and women. It would be interesting to use the UN data API project to dig further into details.
In the latest TED Prize wish, Jamie Oliver, the “Naked Chef”, talks about teaching every child about food. His wish is:
I wish for your help to create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.
Although I have a child and I’m obviously interested in his idea, I was also interested in the simple bar chart depicting the leading causes of death in the USA. In the tiny Flash video, the text is unfortunately barely legible and I was interested in knowing where he got his data from.
The answer is really easy: the leading causes of death in the USA are compiled every year by the (American) National Center for Health Statistics and the results are available on their FastStats website. So, for 2007 (the latest results at the time of writing), the 15 leading causes of death in the USA are (ordered by decreasing number of cases):
||Diseases of heart *
||Malignant neoplasms (cancers) *
||Cerebrovascular diseases *
||Chronic lower respiratory diseases
||Accidents (unintentional injuries)
||Diabetes mellitus *
||Influenza and pneumonia
||Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis
||Intentional self-harm (suicide)
||Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
||Essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease
The exact ICD-10 codes are in this report ; you can find their exact meaning here. Causes with an asterisk are related to food intake, according to Jamie Oliver.
Now you have the numbers, the origin of the data and the methodology used to collect these data. You can watch the presentation:
You’ll find a critique of Jamie Oliver’s talk by Presentation Zen.