Life Expectancy Decrease

Israel White, Staff Writer

After decades of increase, the life expectancy rate in the United States has been on a notable decline for the past three years. According to a recent study by Steven Woolf, a professor of Family Medicine and Population Health, and Heidi Schoomaker, an Eastern Virginia Medical School researcher, drug overdoses, suicides, and organ system diseases are heavily responsible for the decrease.
According to their study, “Life Expectancy and Mortality Rates in the United States, 1959-2017,” these specific causes have been linked to “young and middle-aged adults of all racial groups.”
CNBC writer Uptin Saadi examined these findings in his article “US Life Expectancy Has Been declining Here’s Why” and found from 2006 to 2016, death rates for chronic liver disease and cirrhosis increased by 7.9% for men and 11.4% for women. He also found that from July of 2016 to September of 2017, opioid overdoses increased by 30%, and that from 1999 to 2017, the national suicide rate increased by 33%.
Washington Post writer Lenny Bernstein reported on the study and spoke to Joshua Sharfstein, former secretary of health in Maryland and current vice dean of public health practice at Johns Hopkins. Sharfstein said,“I think this is a very dismal picture of health in the United States. Life expectancy is improving in many places in the world. It shouldn’t be declining in the United States.”