News / USA

Americans Die Sooner than Others in Industrialized Countries

Study also finds disparities within the US itself

Life expectancy for women by US county, 2007. Red and orange
show life expectancy less than 78.5 years. Darker blues indicate life
expectancy 81 and higher.
Life expectancy for women by US county, 2007. Red and orange show life expectancy less than 78.5 years. Darker blues indicate life expectancy 81 and higher.

Multimedia

Audio
Art Chimes

A new analysis of life expectancy around the world finds Americans are lagging behind other industrialized countries, and also identifies vast disparities within the United States itself.

Life expectancy for American men was about 75.5 years in 2007, the most recent year reported. That put the U.S. in 37th place, behind Australia, Japan, Canada and many European countries. American women fare better, with a life expectancy of almost 81 years. But the global ranking has steadily fallen over two decades, putting U.S. female life expectancy also in 37th place among almost 200 countries and territories.

Ali Mokdad is a professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation of the University of Washington, which compiled the life expectancy data. He says increases in life expectancy have lagged in the United States compared with other countries.

"We've seen an improvement almost everywhere in the world, and in countries that are developed, we're seeing a higher improvement, a faster improvement rate, than we are seeing in the United States."

Mokdad says the reason is that America has made less progress in reducing risk factors that can shorten life, such as obesity and high blood pressure.

The report highlights substantial disparities within the United States, too.

Color-coded maps show life expectancy in each of the nation’s 3,000-plus counties. Red and orange signify the shortest projected life span and those colors cluster together in the South.

That's the region where lower socioeconomic status and high rates of health risk factors; plus more limited access to quality medical care all contribute to shorter lifespans.

"Less education, less income in some of these rural counties, more likely to be smokers, more likely to be obese," Mokdad says. "They don't have health insurance or they don't have adequate access to health care, and the quality of medical care is not as good as well."

In the United States, many public health responsibilities are local, not national. Some communities restrict smoking in the workplace. Some have bicycle paths. Some organize farmers markets.

"So programs like this are efficient. They work. They change the environment. And this is a long-term investment, like you build a school, you're going to see the impact of that school 20 years down the road. The same for public health: a long-term investment in their community to increase physical activity and improve diet are needed in this country."

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid