U.S. Life Expectancy Drops: The Role of Obesity and Heart Disease

Published Date: December 9, 2016

Growing prevalence of obesity and heart disease may be impacting more than quality of life – for the first time in decades, average life expectancy in the U.S. decreases.

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows an increase in deaths in 2015 from eight of the top ten leading causes of death: heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, respiratory disease, kidney disease, diabetes, unintentional injury, and suicide.

Without knowing exactly what caused increases in mortality in these eight areas, obesity could be partly to blame. Obesity is a complex, chronic disease that often contributes to the onset or progression of many other chronic diseases. Obesity could play a role in the increased rates of mortality for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Experts agree that whatever the cause, the trend is cause for concern. This is the first time in decades that life expectancy in the U.S. has decreased.

Read the full report from CDC or news coverage of this story from NPR, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Conscienhealth.

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