Voices from Russia

Saturday, 10 February 2018

US Life Expectancy Rates Drop for the Second Year in a Row: Alcohol, Drugs, and Suicide Noted

The Republicans are the main architects of the falling life expectancy… but Clintonista Democrats are just as bad. Neoliberalism IS bad for your health… in BOTH its “conservative” and “liberal” iterations.

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Life expectancy in the Land of the Free dropped for the second year in a row. A new report published in the British Medical Journal revealed that drug addiction, alcohol abuse, and suicide rates contributed to the dramatic drop. The report pointed up that the drop was most significant among middle-aged white Americans and those living in rural communities. Steven Woolf, a co-author of the report released Wednesday, said:

We’re seeing an alarming increase in deaths from substance abuse and despair.

The report stated that the US life expectancy average was 78.6 years in 2016, a 0.1-year drop from 2015. It didn’t yet calculate the US life expectancy for 2017. Woolf noted:

It may not sound like much, but the alarming story isn’t the amount of the decrease but that the increase ended.

The USA had the highest life expectancy in the world in 1960. However, American life expectancy is currently 1.5 years lower than the 35 nations included in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which includes Canada, Germany, Mexico, Australia, the Netherlands, and the UK. The report also reveals that Americans are less healthy than those in other developed nations due to adolescent pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Americans also engage in risky behaviour, including high-calorie intake, drug abuse, and gun ownership. In addition, many Americans live in cities where walking or biking is less common. The lack of universal health care in the USA also contributed to poorer American health. The report stated:

The consequences of these choices are dire… not only more deaths and illness, but also escalating health care costs, a sicker workforce, and a less competitive economy. Future generations may pay the greatest price.

According to Woolf, the deadly US opioid crisis contributed to the drop in life expectancy, but it isn’t the primary cause:

It’s a larger issue, involving addiction to opioids but also fatal overdoses from other drugs.

The rate of fatal drug overdoses surged 137 percent in 2000-14. In addition, deaths from alcohol abuse and suicide dramatically increased. In 1999-14, the suicide rate rose 24 percent. White middle-aged Americans, people with limited education, women, and those in rural areas experienced the largest increase in suicide rates. Woolf explained:

The problem is concentrated in rural largely-white counties that often struggled for many years with stagnant wages, unemployment, poverty, and the loss of major industries that fuelled local economies. The root causes argue for policy solutions, especially those directed at strengthening the middle-class, but these aren’t sufficiently prioritised by elected officials.

11 February 2018

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/society/201802111061548893-US-life-expectancy-rates-drop-second-year-in-row/

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