U.S. life expectancy declining due to more deaths in middle age

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(Reuters Health) – After rising for decades, life expectancy in the U.S. decreased for three straight years, driven by higher rates of death among middle aged Americans, a new study suggests.

Midlife all-cause mortality rates were increasing between 2010 and 2017, driven by higher numbers of deaths due to drug overdoses, alcohol abuse, suicides and organ system diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes, according to the report published in JAMA.

“There has been an increase in death rates among working age Americans,” said Dr. Steven Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University. “This is an emergent crisis. And it is a uniquely American problem since it is not seen in other countries. Something about life in America is responsible.”

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