Objectives: The health status of the Pakistani population was compared with that of the US population to provide a better understanding of the health problems in a developing nation and shed light on the dynamics of selected diseases.
Methods: Results from the National Health Survey of Pakistan (n = 18,315) and the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (n = 31,311) were compared. Standardized and comparable methods were used in both surveys.
Results: Indicators of undernutrition among children were high throughout Pakistan. Among adults, there were urban-rural differences and economic gradients in indicators of undernutrition and risk factors for heart disease and cancer. In comparison with the US population, the Pakistani population has a higher rate of undernutrition, a lower rate of high cholesterol, and an approximately equal rate of high blood pressure.
Conclusions: There are major inequalities in health within Pakistan and between Pakistan and the United States. Standardized national health examination survey methodology can be used to monitor health status and plan health transition policy in developing countries.