Over the past 25 years, life expectancy after 50 has risen in the United States, but at a slower rate than in countries like Japan and Australia, said a recently released National Academy of Sciences report as noted in this Yahoo! Health update.
The gap sounded the alarm among government researchers because the United States spends more on health care than any other country, said the study which examined mortality records in 21 countries.
Men in the U. S. showed an increase in life expectancy of 5.5 years between 1980 and 2006 for an average lifespan of 75.64 years, while U. S. women’s lifespans expanded from 77.5 to 80.7 years.
The culprit: “Three to five decades ago, smoking was much more widespread in the U. S. than in Europe or Japan, and the health consequences are still playing out in today’s mortality rates,” said the report. Read more…
Abu Yahya says
I am skeptical of the importance of lagged smoking effects.
From the report itself (click handle for link):
With respect to income inequality, it is widely believed that such inequalities are higher in the United States than in other high-income countries, in part because the United States does less to redistribute wealth among its citizens…. Poverty rates also appear to be higher in the United States than in most of the other countries….
This combination of factors could result in higher mortality rates among people in the lower socioeconomic brackets in the United States than in other countries, pulling down U.S. life expectancy levels in general…
It’s the same thing with infant mortality.
Abu Yahya says
Correction: here is the direct link to the report