According to recent studies from the National Research Council and the World Health Organization, America’s overall life expectancy is growing slowly when compared to other developed nations.
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Smoking is one of the main reasons for the slower gains, according to the report.
The full impact of high tobacco use rates, particularly among American men, is only now being felt, and it is thought that this may actually foreshadow a sharp increase in life expectancy because more recent generations have been much less likely to smoke.
The study also discovered that obesity could account for anywhere from 20% to a third of the disparity between the United States and other developed countries. Unlike smoking, obesity rates remain high, implying that the same uptick seen with the decline in tobacco use is unlikely.
When compared to other rich countries, the United States’ life expectancy levels have been a source of concern, and it is now estimated that the United States will have a life expectancy rate similar to Mexico by the year 2030. While global life expectancy is expected to rise by 2030, recent studies indicate that the United States will lag behind.
According to the study, which was published in the prestigious medical journal the Lancet, the United States’ life expectancy at birth is “already lower than most other high-income countries, and is projected to fall further behind.”
The World Health Organization and Imperial College London studies looked at life expectancy rates in 35 developed countries.
While South Korean women are expected to have a life expectancy of more than 90 years by 2030, and men are expected to live to an average of 84 years, the study predicted an average age of 83 for women and 79.5 for men in the United States by 2030.
According to Majid Ezzati, a professor of global environmental health at Imperial College London, social norms can explain at least some of the core differential.
“In one regard, the U.S. is almost the opposite of South Korea. The U.S. is unequal to an extent in that the whole national performance is affected. It’s the only country without universal health insurance,” Ezzati says. “The USA is also the only country in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development without universal health coverage and has the largest share of unmet health-care needs due to financial costs. Not only does the USA have high and rising health inequalities, but also life expectancy has stagnated or even declined in some population subgroups.”
The studies also found that a large share of the increase in global average life expectancy rates has come from improvements in care for the elderly.
According to Ezzati, areas that perform well have reaped the benefits of their investments in national health systems.
Given the current political climate, ensuring access to health care is a solid prospect in the United States, and this is expected to impact rates as well.
According to the findings of the NRC, the WHO, and Imperial College London, new scientific evidence about the country’s overall life expectancy is likely to have a significant impact on life insurance policies and rate tables.