Declines in Life Expectancy in Many High-Income Countries

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Life expectancy has declined in recent years in some high-income countries, and in the United States, midlife mortality has increased due to several causes.
Life expectancy has declined in recent years in some high-income countries, and in the United States, midlife mortality has increased due to several causes.

HealthDay News — Life expectancy has declined in recent years in some high-income countries, and in the United States, midlife mortality has increased due to several causes, according to two studies published online Aug. 15 in The BMJ.

Jessica Y. Ho, Ph.D., from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and Arun S. Hendi, Ph.D., from Princeton University in New Jersey, examined whether there were declines in life expectancy across 18 high-income countries during 2014 to 2016. The researchers found that most high-income countries experienced declines in life expectancy from 2014 to 2015. Twelve and 11 countries experienced declines in life expectancy among women and men, respectively, with average declines of 0.21 and 0.18 years, respectively. The declines in most countries were mainly driven by trends in older age (≥65 years) mortality.

Steven H. Woolf, M.D., M.P.H., from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, and colleagues conducted trend analysis among racial and ethnic groups in the United States from 1999 to 2016 for adults aged 25 to 64 years. The researchers found that all-cause mortality increased among non-Hispanic (NH) whites, NH American Indians, and Alaskan Natives. There was an initial decrease in all-cause mortality among NH blacks, Hispanics, and NH Asians and Pacific Islanders, but this trend ended in 2009 to 2011. In each population, the leading cause of increased mortality in midlife was drug overdoses; mortality also increased for alcohol-related conditions, suicides, and organ diseases involving multiple body systems.

"Mortality in midlife in the United States has increased across racial-ethnic populations for a variety of conditions, especially in recent years," the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text - Ho and Hendi
Abstract/Full Text - Woolf
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