News ID: 255523
Published: 0756 GMT July 09, 2019

US life expectancy declining; here’s why

US life expectancy declining; here’s why

The average life expectancy in the US has been on the decline for three consecutive years.

A baby born in 2017 is expected to live to be 78.6 years old, which is down from 78.7 the year before, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, CNBC reported.

The last three years represent the longest consecutive decline in the American lifespan at birth since the period between 1915 and 1918, which included World War I and the Spanish Flu pandemic, events that killed many millions worldwide.

Before the recent decline, life expectancy had been steadily rising in the US — which is to be expected of an advanced nation, particularly one that spends more money per citizen on health care than any other country.

The US isn’t alone. A study projected the UK lifespan will shorten by about five months. While life expectancy is still on the rise in France, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands, those countries have also seen a sharp slowdown.

While there’s no single cause for the decline in the US, a report by the CDC highlights three factors contributing to the decline.


Drug overdoses


In 2017, more than 70,000 deaths occurred because of drug overdoses. Opioids were involved in more than 47,000 of those.

The age-adjusted death rate for drug overdose in the US rose 72 percent within a decade.

When the CDC analyzed data from emergency room visits, it found that opioid overdoses went up a whopping 30 percent in the US from July 2016 to September 2017.

Opioids continue to be prescribed at triple the amount they were in 1999, but many are hoping to change that. The federal government has spent more than $2.4 billion in state grants since 2017 in a bid to curb the epidemic.

CDC data shows the number of opioid prescriptions, while still high, is now declining.


Liver disease


Over a 10-year period, the death rate for chronic liver disease and cirrhosis among men aged 25 to 34 increased by nearly eight percent per year, while women in the same age group increased more than 11 percent per year.

The causes of liver disease can vary, from genetics to alcohol consumption and obesity.


Suicide rates


The national suicide rate has increased by 33 percent since 1999. In 2017 alone, that rate went up by 3.7 percent.

The global suicide rate, meanwhile, has declined by almost 30 percent since 2000, with the rates in Russia, Japan, South Korea and India falling significantly over the last decade.






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