Study: Americans living longer but not always healthier - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Study: Americans living longer but not always healthier

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A 20 year study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation shows Americans are living longer but are living those extra years in poor health.

The study, published in the journal of the American Medical Association, measured data in 187 countries.

It showed that the life expectancy in both men and women in the U.S. Rose from 75.2 years in 1990 to 78.2 years in 2010.

But while Americans are living longer, they are spending more years suffering from non-fatal chronic disabilities like depression, anxiety, bone and joint diseases, and chronic illnesses like diabetes and Alzheimer's.

"The combination of all those disabling conditions means that people are actually spending more time with chronic disorders and that is something we all need to deal with both as individuals and for the health care system," said Dr. Chris Murray of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. 

Doctors blame obesity, which has overtaken tobacco as the most important factor in living a long healthy life, poor physical inactivity, high blood pressure, and alcohol drinking

These factors have increased driving up the possibility of being unhealthy as you age.

In the last 20 years, the U.S. Has spent more per capita on health care than any other nation.

But during that time America's rank fell in every major health category, including life expectancy from 20th to 27th out of 34 other wealthy nations.

"Individual responsibility becomes very important in other nations. You've got to show up for your appointments, you got to take your medication. You have to follow the instructions when it comes to lifestyle issues," said Fox news health senior managing editor Dr. Manny Alvarez.

Caring for chronic disabilities and obesity accounts for nearly half of the cost of U.S. healthcare.


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