Life Expectancy in the U.S. Not Nearly the Highest

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that the country’s life expectancy rates had reached an all-time high, coming in at about 78 years now. For over a decade, life expectancy has been steadily increasing in the United States. Men have an expected lifespan of 75.3 years, while women are higher at about 80.4 years. Doctors also believe that the average person’s “active” lifespan is increasing too, which means people are leading fuller and healthier lives for a longer period of time. For many, that’s led to better insurance terms and lower rates. Unfortunately, for all the advancements in modern medicine and technology, these lifespan gains are decidedly underwhelming to most in the medical community, especially when compared to the rates of other countries.

US Rates Pale in Comparison to Other Countries

So why are many medical professionals in the United States less than enthusiastic about the country’s increasing life expectancy? Because the country is still dramatically behind world leaders in expectancy rates. In fact, the US is actually behind about 30 other nations. Compared to Japan, who’s at the top of the life expectancy list, US citizens live nearly 5 years less. Spain, Italy, and Cuba are just a few of the countries that come in ahead of the US. All of this, despite the fact that the United States spends more money on health care than any other country in the world.

Why are US Life Expectancy Rates so Low?

With the United States spending more money on health care than anyone else, it’s difficult to understand why the country ranks so low. Generally speaking though, the cause can be seen the nation’s overall level of health. Even the best health care in the world can’t protect a population with far too many overweight and unhealthy individuals. Whether it’s caused by overeating, lack of exercise, or just plain genetics, obesity is a major problem for thousands of people in the US. As you probably know, obesity is associated with a number of other health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease. That also explains why healthier individuals tend to receive better rates on their insurance policies.

Will Expectancy Rates Plateau?

Regardless of how small of an increase life expectancy rates have seen, any improvement is better than a decline, especially for those worried about life insurance rate hikes. However, there is some concern that US life expectancy has reached its climax and could soon be on the way down. Since the data used to determine life expectancy information comes from the last several years, there’s a good chance that the numbers will remain stagnant next year. With so many people struggling during the nation’s economic downturn, it only makes sense to assume that the average person’s health has suffered. Whether it’s from stress, inadequate medical care, or anything else, don’t be surprised if the United States’ rank actually decreases in the future.