On Mortality Rates and Life Expectancy

Here is a piece to act as fuel for people who like to argue policy and don't look much beyond the now. I think this is chiefly interesting for the potential support it gives to lifestyle differences between the genders as a noteworthy contributing cause to the fact that women live longer. Otherwise, it reinforces the point that differences in life expectancy at birth between regions or over time is not all that relevant to the intersection of medicine and aging - more attention should be given to statistics for life expectancy at 50 or 60.

Higher mortality rates among Americans younger than 50 are responsible for much of why life expectancy is lower in the United States than most of the world's most developed nations. The research [found] that excess mortality among Americans younger than 50 accounted for two-thirds of the gap in life expectancy at birth between American males and their counterparts and two-fifths between females and their counterparts in the comparison countries.

Most of the excess mortality of those younger than 50 was caused by noncommunicable diseases, including perinatal conditions, such as pregnancy complications and birth trauma, and homicide and unintentional injuries including drug overdose, a fact that she said constitutes a striking finding of the study. "These deaths have flown under the radar until recently. This study shows that they are an important factor in our life expectancy shortfall relative to other countries."

You get further in life by comparing what you have to what is possible, not with what other people have. But relativism of status, circumstances, and possessions is deeply set into the human mind. It's ever a struggle to get people to look beyond what is to see what might be.

Link: http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/news/penn-study-links-us-mortality-rates-under-age-50-us-life-expectancy-lagging-other-high-income-c

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