Posted by: quiscus | June 16, 2011

June 16, 2011

“Life expectancy declining in many parts of US

Average life expectancy is falling in many parts of the United States and for many demographic groups, most notably women, according to a study being published Wednesday in the journal Population Health Metrics, and conducted by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in Seattle.

The results of the study are particularly striking in terms of women’s health. One quarter of all US counties saw an actual reduction in life expectancy for women between 1997 and 2007, meaning that girls born today are expected to live shorter lives than their mothers. As the Los Angeles Times wrote, “For life expectancy to decline in a developed nation is rare. Setbacks on this scale have not been seen in the U.S. since the Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918, according to demographers.”

Overall, the report on life expectancy underscores the catastrophic effects of economic slump and growing social inequality on the physical survival of large portions of the working class population in the United States. Capitalism is not only inflicting unemployment, poverty, homelessness and hunger, it is literally killing young people, the elderly and people of working age.

The tobacco companies cultivated the women’s market in the United States with heavy advertising in the decades after World War II. Despite the overall decline in smoking from 1965 on, after the Surgeon General’s report identified smoking as a major cause of cancer and lung disease, American women have ever since had a higher rate of smoking than women in other countries, which has had long-term consequences for their health.

Even more dangerous is the enormous increase in obesity, which has doubled in the past 30 years, from 17 percent to 34 percent of the population. Obesity is linked to low incomes, lack of access to healthy food choices, particularly fresh fruit and vegetables, and the dominance of fast-food outlets in poorer areas”


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