"Back in 1980, life expectancy at birth in the U.S. was similar to that of comparable countries. However, since then, the U.S. has gained just 4.9 years of life expectancy, while comparable countries have gained 7.8 years on average," according to Health System Tracker.
An American’s life expectancy at birth is 78.6 years, but the average of comparable countries is 82.3 years.
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The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, used nationally representative data from 13,611 adults in the U.S. Health and Retirement Study. The test subjects were 52–104 years old, with an average age of 69.3. Scientists collected data from 1992 to 2008 and analyzed them in relation to deaths that occurred between 2008 and 2014.
“It’s more than just a one-time snapshot in people’s lives, where something might be missed because it did not occur,” said Eli Puterman of the University of British Columbia. “Our approach provides a look at potential long-term impacts through a lifespan lens.”
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Here are the top 10 nonmedical reasons for Americans’ death, according to the study:
- Smoking (currently)
- History of divorce
- History of alcohol misuse
- Recent financial difficulties
- History of unemployment
- Smoking (previously)
- Lower life satisfaction
- Never having been married
- History of using food stamps
- Negative affectivity (a variety of negative emotions, including anger, contempt, disgust, guilt, fear and nervousness)