Life Expectancy Depends On How You Choose Your Lifestyle

December 22
9:34 AM 2016

For the first time in two decades, the life expectancy of Americans declined slightly, and the overall death rate rose, according to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Osevala said the life expectancy report was broken down into age ranges, and adults age 65 and older saw no decrease in how long they are expected to live. The decrease in life expectancy comes into play for the younger and middle-aged population.

For those under the age of 65, accidental deaths and complications from chronic diseases such as heart disease, renal disease, stroke and diabetes were the causes of death that saw increases in 2015.

Whether it's young people abusing opiates or texting while driving or middle-aged folks failing to get exercise and maintaining poor diets, such lifestyle choices aren't entirely within the control of the medical community.

An increase of more than 2% in the suicide rate leaves her wondering if the country has adequate resources available to treat people with mental health issues in a continuous way. The one positive piece of the report was the decrease in cancer-related deaths.

Osevala pointed out that the report shows a year of data and not a trend, so the numbers aren't cause for alarm. Yet she finds it disappointing that the United States, with its advanced medical interventions, isn't seeing an increase in life expectancy like Japan and some European countries.

Osevala encourages individuals to continue to take responsibility for their own health rather than getting concerned about reports and statistics.

"People tend to come into their doctor and ask, 'What are you going to do?' or 'How are you going to fix me?'" she said. "But rather than looking to medications to address potential health issues, why not look at what can be done with exercise, diet and good lifestyle choices to combat disease? The good news is that we all have an opportunity to help ourselves be healthier and live longer through the small choices we make every day. We should feel empowered by this and set achievable goals toward this end."

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