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Life Expectancy > But Hold the Parade

Posted Apr 19 2011 9:00am
According to the National Vital Statistics Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average life expectancy of a baby born in the U.S. climbed to 78.2 years. At the same time, the death rate fell to an all-time low.

The age-adjusted death rate fell from 758.7 deaths per 100,000 people to just 741 deaths per 100,000 people. Life expectancy for men rose from 75.5 years in 2008 to 75.7 years in 2009 and for women from 80.5 years to 80.6 years during that same time.

The average age of a nursing home resident is 79, with slightly more than half of all nursing home residents over the age of 85, according to statistics from the American Health Care Association . View the CDC report online here .

Hold off on any parades. Yes we are living longer in the U.S. but...Life expectancy is not rising as fast as it once was. And, compared with other developed nations, the National Research Council reports the U.S. lags the average life-expectancy gains of 21 other countries for men and women.
Heart-disease rates in the United States are to blame according to researchers and surpriningly in women, smoking appears to account for lower life expectancy relative to other countries. Obesity may account for one-fifth to one-third of the shortfall in U.S. life expectancy as compared with other countries too.
We all know that the U.S. has the highest rate of medical spending in the world and most of it is devoted to treating disease and not preventing it. Couple that with our obesity epidemic and how poorly many Americans take care of themselves, it is a wonder that life expectancy actually didn't decrease. 
And there's the rub. Because there is bit of an entitlement attitude in this country. Many figure that what the heck if I let myself go, there will be a pill, procedure, or device that will take care of me. That may be true but that in of itself will not extend a quality life the way healthy living habits will and do.
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