US life expectancy dips for first time in decades

Insight

US life expectancy dips for first time in decades

For those in the United States, a bit of bad news. Scientists said they’re not living as long as they did. And, there’s even a tie to the recent presidential election.

CCTV America’s John Terrett reports.

US life expectancy dips for first time in decades

For those in the United States, a bit of bad news. Scientists said they’re not living as long as they did. And, there’s even a tie to the recent presidential election.CCTV America’s John Terrett reports.

The National Center For Health Statistics figures show U.S. life expectancy for men dropping from 76.5 years in 2014 to 76.3 in 2015, women from 81.3 to 81.2 last year, and the overall life expectancy at birth dipping from 78.9 in 2014 to 78.8 in 2015.

The problem is even a small decline like this hasn’t happened on this scale since the ’90s when the AIDS crisis was at its peak.

Peter Muennig is a professor of health policy and management at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and he said experts are split. However, he also added that there may be link to the presidential election because the group most affected by the decline in life expectancy is white men and women and high school drop outs of every race.

When the U.S. life expectancy is compared to the world, out of nearly 200 countries, the U.N.’s World Health Organization ranks the top four countries for life expectancy in 2015 as Japan, Switzerland, Singapore and Australia. The bottom four is Chad, Central Africa Republic, Angola and Sierra Leone.

The U.S. comes in at 31, China 53, though China’s life expectancy has come a long way in the past sixty years – up from around just over 40 to the mid-70s.

Back in the U.S., the National Center for Health Statistics also shows deaths from heart attacks, stroke, Alzheimer’s and diabetes are all on the increase.

Peter Muennig says it’ll take scientists at least another year to process enough data to say for sure whether life expectancy in America is declining.


Mr. Yong Cai discusses increased life expectancy in China

China’s life expectancy has come up from 43.47 years (1960) to 75.20 years (2012). That’s among the highest rises in the world. To learn more about China’s success, CCTV America’s Elaine Reyes spoke with Mr. Yong Cai, assistant professor at the Department of Sociology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.