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U.S. life expectancy lags behind other wealthy nations

Staff Writer |
The United States lags behind other advanced nations when it comes to infant mortality and the life expectancy of its citizens, according to a comprehensive review of global health statistics.

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The health of U.S. citizens is specifically challenged by smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, drug abuse and gun violence, said study co-author Dr. Mohsen Naghavi. He's a professor with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle.

The United States isn't meeting the high expectations set by the country's wealth and the amount it spends on health care, mainly because not all U.S. citizens benefit equally from their nation's advantages, Naghavi said.

"This comes from inequality in access to health care, along with other social and economic factors," he said.

Infant mortality in the United States amounted in 2015 to six deaths out of every 1,000 kids younger than 5, while the average for all high-income nations combined was about five deaths per 1,000, researchers said.

U.S. men and women also had poorer life expectancy, compared with the rest of the developed world.

U.S. men had an average life expectancy of 76.7 years in 2015, with about 66.8 of those years spent in good health. Life expectancy for U.S. women was 81.5 years on average, with 69.5 years spent in good health.

By comparison, all high-income countries combined had an average 78.1 years of life expectancy for men and 83.4 years for women, the study reported. Years lived in good health averaged 68.9 for men and 72.2 for women.

These findings are part of the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors Study 2015, a scientific analysis of more than 300 diseases and injuries in 195 countries and territories.


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