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Life expectancy in the USA drops

Recently released statistics have shown that the life expectancy within the USA is 78.8. This is a drop on last year’s figure of 78.9, although the drop is small, it is the first time that life expectancy has actually decreased in the USA since 1993, when HIV/AIDS and influenza combined knocked the trend for one year. Many experts believe that one of the major contributing factors for the plateau and now small decrease in life expectancy has been the obesity epidemic. Over a decade ago, scientists were warning of the long term effects of overweight and obesity, and the USA has a large proportion of its population above what is considered a ‘normal BMI’.

Professor Stephen Jay Olshansky, of the University of Illinois, even produced a controversial paper in 2005 explaining that if the rise in obesity wasn’t curbed soon, then an effect on life expectancy would be seen, not many believed him at the time, however now it seems as though he may not have been wrong at all. Obesity itself is not a disease that kills, it is the multiple co-morbidities that are associated with it, such as heart disease, cancers, T2DM, and kidney disease, to name a few. It is these conditions that people are falling prey to, and it is these conditions that must be stopped, one way of doing this would be to focus on obesity. Unfortunately, it will take another year to see if this is becoming a trend, either way, it is clear that the obesity epidemic is having an effect and must be addressed.

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