Now for the Ugly
In a article published in the NEJM in 2005,
Olshansky, Butler,, NEJM, March 17, 2005
The authors predicted that For The First Time in US History Average Adult Life Expectancy May Be Decreasing. And that Obesity May Shorten Average Life Spans More Than Accidents, Homicides and Suicides Combined
Their famous quote from the study was
“If the childhood obesity problem continues to grow at its current rate, the new generation could be the first in history to have a life expectancy less than its parents.”
In January of this year, a study came out confirming that this has already happened.
3141 Counties Grouped Into 2068 County Units (CU)
Ezzati M, Friedman AB, Kulkarni SC, Murray CJL (2008) The reversal of fortunes: Trends in county mortality and cross-county mortality disparities in the United States. Plos Med 5(4): e66. Doi:10. 1371/journal.pmed.0050066
The looked at 3141 Counties in the USA and Grouped then together Into 2068 of what they called, County Units (CU). They did this to even out populations in the counties groups and ratios of male to females
Between 1983 and 1999 Life Expectancies:
Declined Significantly In 11 CU For Males,
Declined Significantly In 180 CU For Females
Average Decline was 1.3 Yrs
Also, Life Expectancies
Declined In 48 Counties For Males
Declined In 783 Counties For Females
Average Decline Was .5 (Women) and .4 (Men)
This was most prevalent in the Deep South, Mississippi River, Appalachia, Midwest, Texas
The main reasons were Smoking, Poor Diet, Weight, Blood Pressure, & Inactivity.
We can prevent and/or stop about 70% of this by simply not smoking, being at a healthy weight, engaging in regular exercise and eating the minimum recommendations of fruits and veggies. Yet only about 3-4% of Americans do this.
Think about it. Especially in regard to prioritizing, or triaging, our efforts to improve our health and lifestyle behaviors.
And people (who do not follow the 5 HLC's) are arguing over what water they should drink or which sweetener they should use?
What matters most is what matters most.