Monday, August 13, 2007

Live fast, die young, leave an uninsured corpse

A new report using data from the Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics shows that Americans are living shorter lives than people born in other nations. Yes, our life expectancy is now 77.9 years. You'd have a better chance of living longer if you were born in France, England, Germany, Japan, Andorra, Singapore, or any of the other 41 nations that came in ahead of us.

What led to our dismal ranking at #42 (a drop from #11 two decades ago)? Well, much as Michael Moore and I would love to say it's entirely due to our lack of universal health care, that's just one of the factors at play here.

Also at play is our lousy eating habits. Obesity and the troubles it brings (diabetes, heart disease, etc.) are a big part of what's killing us (no pun intended).

Class and race play a role as well (of course). After all, if you can afford to eat better (and be insured) you have a better chance at a long life than if you're raised in a low-employment inner-city ghetto.

So, why can't we see a way to rise above our health care and longevity issues? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that we also now have the shortest population in the industrialized world.

Obesity and the lack of a national health care system are to blame for that one too.

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