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Why is Life Expectancy Falling in the United States?

May 15, 2008 | 41,520 views
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health care, life expectancy, mortality, spending, finances, health care spending, health care costs, drugs, pharmaceuticalsLife expectancy has declined for many U.S. women, according to a joint study by the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Washington.

Nearly one in five women had decline of life expectancy hold steady, starting in the 1980s.

About half of the 2,000 county units studied were poor, rural areas, and the decline was blamed on chronic diseases related to smoking, overweight and obesity, and high blood pressure.

Those worst affected by the downturn live in the south, the Appalachians, southern parts of the Midwest and areas of Texas.

“The fact that this is happening to a large number of Americans should be a sign that the US health system needs serious rethinking," said the study‘s co-author Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Considering the fact that life expectancy in the United States as a whole has actually risen by more than six years for women, and seven years for men in the same period of time (from 1961 to 1999), this study highlights the problem of poverty combined with unhealthy lifestyles, lack of preventive care and the exorbitant cost for mediocre health care.

An Unsustainable “Health” Paradigm

"There is now evidence that there are large parts of the population in the United States whose health has been getting worse for about two decades," said Majid Ezzati, lead author of the study. Well, let’s take a look at some of the financial reasons for this discrepancy.

According to the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) -- which tracks health care spending -- the U.S. national health expenditure (NHE) grew 6.7 percent in 2006 to $2.1 trillion ($7,026 per person), and accounted for a whopping 16 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Private spending, i.e. people paying out of pocket, accounted for 54 percent of the total NHE, or $1.1 trillion. Prescription drug spending increased by 5.8 percent that same year.

If we look back, based on SMS’ historical data, the national health expenditure in 1980 was $253.4 billion, or $1,100 per person, accounting for 9.1 percent of the GDP at the time.

And, looking at the historical picture in its entirety, U.S. health care costs have leapfrogged: DOUBLING about every seven years ever since 1960.

The study’s findings suggest that beginning in the early 1980s and continuing through 1999 those who were already disadvantaged did not benefit from any of the life expectancy gains experienced by those who were better off financially. The authors state that their results are troubling because the stated aim of the US health system is to improve the health of “all people, and especially those at greater risk of health disparities.”

So, on the one hand, Americans have been spending more and more money on health care over the past decades, yet the life expectancy of certain groups is going down. Clearly, the system is not designed to care for anyone except those who can afford to pay an arm and a leg for what little it does offer (because as I’ll show you later, wealthy Americans are still worse off than many in less affluent countries).

The researchers explain the decline in life expectancy in these worst-off areas as being primarily caused by a rise in a number of diseases, such as lung cancer, chronic lung disease, and diabetes.

Need I mention the sadly ironic fact that these are also some of the diseases that are completely preventable?

Diabetes, for example, is both preventable and treatable through simple, inexpensive lifestyle changes. But no, instead these people are led to believe they need drugs – which they can’t afford – and so nothing is done and they die prematurely.

What Does Health Care Spending Have to do With Longevity?

Amazingly, other countries manage to achieve longer life expectancies than the United States while paying a mere fraction of the U.S. healthcare cost per capita.

U.S. life expectancy is just under 78 years – one of the lowest life expectancies among developed nations. Lower than Cuba’s, and just marginally higher than the super power of Slovenia, according to figures from the United Nations.

So what impact does the U.S. health care spending have on Americans' life expectancy?

Apparently, not much!

And, quite frankly, it is this way by design, not by some bizarre fluke or mere stupidity.

High Time to Identify the Driving Force Behind U.S. Abysmal Health Statistics

Please understand that the drug companies are THE primary force behind the terrible health statistics of the U.S. This is not an accident at all, or some terrible oversight. This is by design.

If you haven’t been reading this newsletter that statement may come as a surprise, but  from my perspective this is the unfortunate truth.

They have been able to control the U.S. Congress and manipulate it to pass just about any and every law they want. Once you understand how they control the government, you realize how they are diverting hundreds of billions of dollars for their hyperinflated drug prices. This goes into their own coffers; for their own good -- NOT for the good of the public. Not for the good of those in need.

It is this diversion of funding that is the primary reason why American health is so poor. If these funds were spent wisely and not stolen, there is no doubt in my mind the United States would lead the world in health stats.

This year the US will spend $2.5 trillion dollars on health care, but by 2017, health care spending is projected to exceed $4 TRILLION. This is largely due to the costs of drugs and surgery and a reliance on a medical system that treats only symptoms and never the cause of disease.

How To Survive in a Diseased Health Paradigm

So what can you do?

Simple.

Take Control of Your Health. You don't have to stand for this nonsense anymore, ever. Learn what you need to stop being deceived by drug company lies and deceptions. Tell your family, friends and neighbors, and be a beacon of light.

I am confident that with tools like the Internet, the days are numbered for the drug companies, and collectively we will defeat them. It is a massive David vs. Goliath battle, but there is no doubt in my mind that the victory will be ours.

There are a number of basic strategies you can use to avoid getting sucked into the current disease-care paradigm. Following these guidelines will be a powerful way to avoid premature aging, and improve your health in your old age so you can far exceed the U.S. national average life expectancy.

  1. Eat a healthy diet that’s right for your nutritional type (paying very careful attention to keeping your insulin levels down)
  2. Drink plenty of clean water
  3. Manage your stress
  4. Exercise
  5. Sunlight
  6. Limit toxin exposure
  7. Consume healthy fat
  8. Eat plenty of raw food
  9. Optimize insulin and leptin levels
  10. Get plenty of sleep
  11. Maintain a Healthy Weight

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