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Thread: U.S. life span shorter

  1. #1
    Senor Votto Degenerate39's Avatar
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    U.S. life span shorter

    U.S. life span shorter
    August 11, 2007 05:08:02 PM PST

    Americans are living longer than ever, but not as long as people in 41 other countries.

    For decades, the United States has been slipping in international rankings of life expectancy, as other countries improve health care, nutrition and lifestyles.

    Countries that surpass the U.S. include Japan and most of Europe, as well as Jordan, Guam and the Cayman Islands.

    "Something's wrong here when one of the richest countries in the world, the one that spends the most on health care, is not able to keep up with other countries," said Dr. Christopher Murray, head of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

    A baby born in the United States in 2004 will live an average of 77.9 years. That life expectancy ranks 42nd, down from 11th two decades earlier, according to international numbers provided by the Census Bureau and domestic numbers from the National Center for Health Statistics.

    Andorra, a tiny country in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain, had the longest life expectancy, at 83.5 years, according to the Census Bureau. It was followed by Japan, Macau, San Marino and Singapore.

    The shortest life expectancies were clustered in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region that has been hit hard by an epidemic of HIV and AIDS, as well as famine and civil strife. Swaziland has the shortest, at 34.1 years, followed by Zambia, Angola, Liberia and Zimbabwe.

    Researchers said several factors have contributed to the United States falling behind other industrialized nations. A major one is that 45 million Americans lack health insurance, while Canada and many European countries have universal health care, they say.

    But "it's not as simple as saying we don't have national health insurance," said Sam Harper, an epidemiologist at McGill University in Montreal. "It's not that easy."

    Among the other factors:

    Adults in the United States have one of the highest obesity rates in the world. Nearly a third of U.S. adults 20 years and older are obese, while about two-thirds are overweight, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

    "The U.S. has the resources that allow people to get fat and lazy," said Paul Terry, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Emory University in Atlanta. "We have the luxury of choosing a bad lifestyle as opposed to having one imposed on us by hard times."

    Racial disparities. Black Americans have an average life expectancy of 73.3 years, five years shorter than white Americans.

    Black American males have a life expectancy of 69.8 years, slightly longer than the averages for Iran and Syria and slightly shorter than in Nicaragua and Morocco.

    A relatively high percentage of babies born in the U.S. die before their first birthday, compared with other industrialized nations.

    Forty countries, including Cuba, Taiwan and most of Europe had lower infant mortality rates than the U.S. in 2004. The U.S. rate was 6.8 deaths for every 1,000 live births. It was 13.7 for Black Americans, the same as Saudi Arabia.

    "It really reflects the social conditions in which African American women grow up and have children," said Dr. Marie C. McCormick, professor of maternal and child health at the Harvard School of Public Health. "We haven't done anything to eliminate those disparities."

    Another reason for the U.S. drop in the ranking is that the Census Bureau now tracks life expectancy for a lot more countries — 222 in 2004 — than it did in the 1980s. However, that does not explain why so many countries entered the rankings with longer life expectancies than the United States.

    Murray, from the University of Washington, said improved access to health insurance could increase life expectancy. But, he predicted, the U.S. won't move up in the world rankings as long as the health care debate is limited to insurance.

    Policymakers also should focus on ways to reduce cancer, heart disease and lung disease, said Murray. He advocates stepped-up efforts to reduce tobacco use, control blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and regulate blood sugar.

    "Even if we focused only on those four things, we would go along way toward improving health care in the United States," Murray said. "The starting point is the recognition that the U.S. does not have the best health care system. There are still an awful lot of people who think it does."
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  3. #2
    Oy Vey! Red in Chicago's Avatar
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    Re: U.S. life span shorter

    I know this is a generic response, but I'd rather have a few less years living in this country, that in anywhere else:

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    For a Level Playing Field RedFanAlways1966's Avatar
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    Re: U.S. life span shorter

    Title = U.S. life span shorter

    1st sentence = Americans are living longer than ever, but not as long as people in 41 other countries.
    Excuse me for asking, but something seems amiss in the title of the article. The U.S. life span is shorter, but Americans are living longer? This is like saying the ground is soaking wet, but it is dry.

    Perhaps I am misunderstanding something. Please correct me if I am wrong. Thank you!
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    Baseball card addict MrCinatit's Avatar
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    Re: U.S. life span shorter

    Quote Originally Posted by RedFanAlways1966 View Post
    Excuse me for asking, but something seems amiss in the title of the article. The U.S. life span is shorter, but Americans are living longer? This is like saying the ground is soaking wet, but it is dry.

    Perhaps I am misunderstanding something. Please correct me if I am wrong. Thank you!
    They are saying that our life spans are longer than what they were 20 years ago - but other countries have surpassed us during the same period.

    I blame it on Bob Boone.

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    For a Level Playing Field RedFanAlways1966's Avatar
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    Re: U.S. life span shorter

    Quote Originally Posted by MrCinatit View Post
    They are saying that our life spans are longer than what they were 20 years ago - but other countries have surpassed us during the same period.

    I blame it on Bob Boone.
    Thanks, MrCinatit! I think Boone took years off of a few of our RZ American lives during his time with the REDS.

    Back to the topic.... the title is wrong. U.S. life spans are not shorter. A better (and accurate) title would be something like "U.S. Life Spans Shorter Than 40 Other Countries".
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    Baseball card addict MrCinatit's Avatar
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    Re: U.S. life span shorter

    Quote Originally Posted by RedFanAlways1966 View Post
    Thanks, MrCinatit! I think Boone took years off of a few of our RZ American lives during his time with the REDS.

    Back to the topic.... the title is wrong. U.S. life spans are not shorter. A better (and accurate) title would be something like "U.S. Life Spans Shorter Than 40 Other Countries".
    Your headline would have been much better - this one was probably either written by an editor who only scanned the story for general content; or by an editor who was looking for a sensationalistic headline for a story I actually did find interesting.

  8. #7
    Senor Votto Degenerate39's Avatar
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    Re: U.S. life span shorter

    It's obvious it's Adam Dunn's doing.
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  9. #8
    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    Re: U.S. life span shorter

    Policymakers also should focus on ways to reduce cancer, heart disease and lung disease, said Murray. He advocates stepped-up efforts to reduce tobacco use, control blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and regulate blood sugar.
    A lot of these problems go directly to the amount of time Americans spend at work.

    Moving from college/school into the working world has given me a new appreciation for just how difficult it is to maintain an active lifestyle. Its especially true when ones everyday routine involves getting up early, sitting in a car and driving to a place of business where one remains seated at a desk (normally in front of a computer) for long periods of time, and coming home at the end of the day exhausted. If I don't go to the gym right after work (no stop at home), I usually don't make it.

    Obesity is the new bogeyman in American culture -- the problem is, we're forced to live lives that encourage and promote it. Other nations we are in "competition" with in this article have government-mandated reduced work weeks and government-mandated vacation times -- both of which give more opportunity for outside of work activity and stress-reducing time off.

    Not saying that kind of management is a good thing, but it certainly is part of the discussion.
    Last edited by Caveat Emperor; 08-12-2007 at 08:33 PM.
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    Member durl's Avatar
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    Re: U.S. life span shorter

    What I glean from the article is that the life span of American's is shorter than some other countries, but we're free to make the decisions that shorten our lives. This is a slight exaggeration, but it seems as though 1/3 of Americans are too sedentary, 1/3 are too stressed by trying to climb the ladder of success, and 1/3 have life in a good balance. There are SO many factors that have to be considered when you're talking about longevity. Personality, religion, family...many things other than taxpayer-funded insurance have to be considered.

  11. #10
    Member CrackerJack's Avatar
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    Re: U.S. life span shorter

    Just watched "Fast Food Nation" and was attracted to this subject. It paints a pretty sickening picture of our poor eating habits and lack of readily available healthy nutrition. Just seeing that there are 80 Mcdonald's on Manhattan Island alone made my eyes pop out of my head.

    I am the "one" person in our office who keeps in shape and works out 3-5 times a week - I am teased and questioned about it constantly, I feel like an outcast, and I am adamant about not working during that 1.5-2 hours that I do go to the gym directly after 5pm - I absolutely need to do that in order to maintain a healthy feeling system and to combat work related stress. I will not give it up just to appease some overweight boss. (and she's incredibly overweight and it's scary looking)

    I do tire of the attitude from so many fuddy duddy midwestern office worker types that you are some sort of metrosexual cheeseball just because you take care of yourself in your mid-30's.

    I really don't care what people think ultimately, but out-casting people who like body development and exercise/weight lifting is just insane. We're not all freaks or dumb jocks types. It's good for you and everyone should do it, ecspecially those who are sitting on their butt doing nothing 85% of the day.

    In any case, the proliferation of fast food and sedentiary work cultures in this country obviously are a big reason for this - maybe more so than the lack of affordable healthcare.

    But why keep stating the obvious - just like global warming - it's taking forever for people to do anything about it.

  12. #11
    Member 15fan's Avatar
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    Re: U.S. life span shorter

    3/4 of a century for the average American to consume resources and leave a mark. Then it's time to check out and make way for the subsequent generations.

    As I've grown up and watched what aging has done to loved ones and their families/friends, I've come to appreciate my godfather's take on things: If I make it to 75, I'll stick around for the party. But not too long after that, there's going to be a "hunting accident".

  13. #12
    SERP Emeritus paintmered's Avatar
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    Re: U.S. life span shorter

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    A lot of these problems go directly to the amount of time Americans spend at work.

    Moving from college/school into the working world has given me a new appreciation for just how difficult it is to maintain an active lifestyle. Its especially true when ones everyday routine involves getting up early, sitting in a car and driving to a place of business where one remains seated at a desk (normally in front of a computer) for long periods of time, and coming home at the end of the day exhausted. If I don't go to the gym right after work (no stop at home), I usually don't make it.

    Obesity is the new bogeyman in American culture -- the problem is, we're forced to live lives that encourage and promote it. Other nations we are in "competition" with in this article have government-mandated reduced work weeks and government-mandated vacation times -- both of which give more opportunity for outside of work activity and stress-reducing time off.

    Not saying that kind of management is a good thing, but it certainly is part of the discussion.
    Part of the reason I accepted the job that I did is because they authorize 3 hours/week to be spent at the gym. And you better believe I take advantage of the offer.

    I think employers are gradually realizing that investing in the physical/mental/spiritual health of employees makes good business sense. There are so many reason for a policy like the one at my employer: lower loss of man hours due to sick leave, lower cost for health insurance, higher rate of productivity...
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