American life expectancy lags behind other nations

Nov 15, 2010

Some say healthcare may be the reason the country's life expectancy rate trails behind other nations

Americans' poor diet and lifestyle have often been criticized by healthcare professionals. Some experts have gone on to say that because of such poor habits, for the first time in the country's history, children's life expectancy may not be as long as their parents.

Recent research shows while the life expectancy for Americans has grown over the past several decades, greater lifespans are expected in other developed countries. The Commonwealth Fund is saying the American lifestyle isn't the only culprit for the nation's poor standing.

Columbia University assistant professor Peter Muennig says Americans' shorter life expectancy in comparison to other countries cannot be blamed solely on obesity and other commonly cited reasons.

"The U.S. doesn't stand out as doing any worse in these areas than any of the other countries we studied, leading us to believe that failings in the U.S. healthcare system, such as costly specialized and fragmented care, are likely playing a large role in this relatively poor performance on improvements in life expectancy," says Muennig.

The findings revealed by the Commonwealth Fund show even the best diet and exercise regimen aren't the only factors that contribute to a person's longevity. It's wise for people to invest in life insurance during their early years to get better premiums.

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