Why do Americans die earlier than Europeans?
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In 2017, for example, higher American mortality translated into roughly 401,000 excess deaths – deaths that would not have occurred if the US had Europe’s lower age-specific death rates. Pre-pandemic, that 401,000 is about 12% of all American deaths. The percentage is even higher below age 85, where one in four Americans die simply because they do not live in Europe.
The tremendous losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have been widely publicized. The US government estimates that 377,000 deaths in 2020 were attributable to Covid-19. This means that the mortality penalty that the US pays every year is equivalent to the number of American pandemic deaths in 2020. And since people tend to die from Covid at much older ages than America’s typical excess deaths, the total number of years of potential life lost in an average year is three times greater than those lost to Covid in 2020 (13.0 million versus 4.4 million).
There have been many efforts to account for the US mortality disadvantage. There is no single answer, but three factors stand out. First, death rates from drug overdose are much higher in the US than in Europe and have risen sharply in the 21st century. Second is the rapid rise in the proportion of American adults who are obese. In 2016, 40% of American adults were obese, a larger proportion than in Europe. Higher levels of obesity in the US may account for 55% of its shortfall in life expectancy relative to other rich countries. Third, the US stands out among wealthy countries for not offering universal healthcare insurance. One analysis suggests that the absence of universal healthcare resulted in 45,000 excess deaths at ages 18-64 in 2005. That number represents about a quarter of excess deaths in that age range.
Why does the US perform so poorly in these realms? We would argue that a lack of federal oversight and regulation, powerful lobbying structure, deindustrialization of American jobs, and systemic racism combine to create an annual tsunami of excess deaths.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction
May 5, 2021 at 1:30 PM #421344Bernie BoomerParticipant
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Lack of universal healthcare, which leads to a lack of intervention in things like obesity and drug addiction. Not a cure-all, early intervention, but sometimes you can head things off at the pass.
May 5, 2021 at 3:49 PM #421376Mr. Mickeys MomModerator
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I can attest as someone who had QUITE the curriculum change in the early 70’s.
Everything I learned… really learned… was after that in a series of community colleges (catch up) and getting off my lazy ass, commencing to read and pay attention. I’ve been making strides since, which includes diet and exercise. You don’t need to be rich… however, you need to live near real food.
Hell, no... I'm not giving up...
May 5, 2021 at 4:57 PM #421391SatanParticipant
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…but the close second has to be the shitty US corporate food industry. Most obviously GMO “foods” (including high fructose corn poison) and factory farming of the meat supply.
Even if mortals in the US could properly take care of their medical needs, the chemicals they put in their body, coming from the food they pick up at the local grocery store would still take their toll.
It’s not like the French & Italians are all on low fat Vegan diets. Quite the opposite. It’s just that most of the ingredients in their food have names that could be spelled or pronounced by anybody with a grade school education.
"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable". - John F. Kennedy
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