Sunday, September 23, 2012

US Life Span Declining (for Some Groups)



Life Spans Shrink for Least-Educated Whites in the U.S. By Sabrina Tavernise September 20, 2012 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/21/us/life-expectancy-for-less-educated-whites-in-us-is-shrinking.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120921

[Excerpted] For generations of Americans, it was a given that children would live longer than their parents. But there is now mounting evidence that this enduring trend has reversed itself for the country’s least-educated whites, an increasingly troubled group whose life expectancy has fallen by four years since 1990. 

Researchers have long documented that the most educated Americans were making the biggest gains in life expectancy, but now they say mortality data show that life spans for some of the least educated Americans are actually contracting. Four studies in recent years identified modest declines, but a new one that looks separately at Americans lacking a high school diploma found disturbingly sharp drops in life expectancy for whites in this group. Experts not involved in the new research said its findings were persuasive. 

The reasons for the decline remain unclear, but researchers offered possible explanations, including a spike in prescription drug overdoses among young whites, higher rates of smoking among less educated white women, rising obesity, and a steady increase in the number of the least educated Americans who lack health insurance....

Majia here: Poverty is most certainly rising in America. The Wall Street Journal has been reporting about stagnating household income and The Washington Post reported this week about poverty growing in high-income suburbs:

Poverty grows in high-income Washington suburbs http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/poverty-grows-in-high-income-washington-suburbs/2012/09/21/271af814-0406-11e2-8102-ebee9c66e190_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines

Majia here: See links at bottom of this post for more data on declining income and well-being. One of the saddest and most alarming aspects of Americans' deteriorating finances is the poverty rate for children.

Today (9/23/2012), The Arizona Republic reports that "State Pays for 53% of Births" in Arizona, A1, A16.

Majia here: The article notes that Arizona covers "pregnant women with incomes at or below 150 percent of the poverty level, or $28,635 annually for a family of three.... Most states cover women whose family income is higher...."

Majia here: This article essentially indicates that 50 percent of Arizona's children are living in or near poverty. That is not a winning formulation for the future of the state or the country.

Poverty is a major reason for declining life spans because poor people tend to have less nutritious diets and less access to preventive health care.

However, I believe that wider declines in lifespan are to be expected given the levels of contamination now saturating our environment:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/57277946/RoundupandBirthDefectsv5

Wealthy, educated people can reduce the risks to their health by eating organic food, filtering water, living in less contaminated areas, and judiciously relying on preventive medicine.

However, no amount of wealth will protect people from on the ubiquitous radiological and chemical contamination that grows worse with every year.

I expect lifespan will slowly decline for all populations with more developmental disorders and rising cancer and stroke rates.

Our economic and environmental systems are in crises; yet, little to no public dialogue exists among policy makers addressing our collapsing welfare.




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