losangelesnewstoday.com June 20, 2018

Americans' Life Expectancy Dropped for a Second Year in a Row

25 December 2017, 03:29 | Violet Powell

Americans' Life Expectancy Dropped for a Second Year in a Row

2016 Was Way Worse For Our Health Than We Thought

The average life expectancy in the USA is now 78.6 years - down by 0.1 years, figures from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) found. But death rates past year continued to go down for people who are 65 and older while going up for all younger adults - those most affected by the opioid epidemic. About one-third of unintentional injuries are drug overdoses, Anderson said.

The report also identified the areas with the highest rates of drug overdoses in 2016: West Virginia, Ohio, New Hampshire, the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania.

The federal statistics said other causes of death, including suicide, have increased as well.

Iceland, Switzerland and Japan have the longest life expectancies, and South Africa has the lowest.

Life expectancy isn't falling for women - just for men.

Drug death rates are increasing much faster than they have in recent years.

For U.S. males, life expectancy fell from 76.3 to 76.1 years, while females' life expectancy remained at 81.1 years.

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Men were far more likely to die from drug overdoses than women were, but other reports have found a growing number of opiate overdoses among women. The leading cause of this can be attributed to the opioid epidemic, too: as CNN observed, over 42,000 deaths of the 63,600 total overdose deaths were caused by opioids.

The U.S. ranks below dozens of other high-income countries in life expectancy, according to the World Bank.

"The 10 leading causes of infant death in 2016 accounted for 67.5 percent of all infant deaths in the United States", the report reads. Death rates among black men climbed 1 percent in 2016, while death rates among white women actually fell 1 percent.

While some people might be tempted to dismiss the decline in life expectancy as inconsequential because the change from 2015 to 2016 is so slight, Samuel Sturgeon, president of Demographic Intelligence, said even a small change can make a big difference in a country as big as the United States. They include congenital birth defects, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome.

"It sounds like a small amount, but when you extend that across 300 million people, and the hardship starts to add up pretty quickly. What this represents is a sufficient number of young people are getting 30 or 40, if not 50, years cut out of their lives", Sturgeon said. "It may be the deaths from drugs, from suicide, from alcohol are related to the fact that people don't have the stability and a hope for the future that they might have had in the past". The life expectancy figure is based on the year of their birth, current death trends and other factors. The rate of drug overdose deaths involving natural and semisynthetic opioids, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, also rose, while overdoses involving methadone declined.

"I'm not prone to dramatic statements, but I think we should be really alarmed", Anderson said.

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