Life Expectancy Fact Sheet Issue 04/17/2017
LIFE EXPECTANCY IN THE U.S.
Life expectancy in the U.S. is declining for the first time since 1993.
What can be done to prevent chronic diseases?
Chronic diseases can be prevented through:
- Being informed
- Having regular physical exams
- Eating a healthy diet
- Getting regular exercise
What is the current state of life expectancy in the U.S.?
In 2015, life expectancy at birth for the total population was 78.8 years, a decrease of 0.1 years from 2014. This disturbing trend affects all Americans regardless of their age, sex, race, or ethnicity.
How does life expectancy in the U.S. compare to other countries?
Life expectancy in the U.S. ranks 26th among developed countries. More Americans are dying earlier than people in other developed countries due to worsening health conditions and chronic disease-related deaths.
Why are more Americans dying earlier?
More Americans appear to be dying earlier from chronic disease, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, influenza and pneumonia, chronic lower respiratory conditions, and other chronic conditions that are preventable.
How can doctors help?
Visit your doctor for annual check-ups. They can perform physical exams and other tests to identify chronic diseases in their early stages or to prevent them completely. Also, they may recommend immunizations, cancer screenings, and diabetes prevention to help detect diseases earlier.
How should you eat to improve health?
Follow these healthy eating habits for life to prevent chronic disease:
- Eat a variety of foods
- Avoid empty calories
- Don't overeat
- Consume less than 10% of daily calories from added sugars and saturated fats
- Consume less than 2300 milligrams (mg) of sodium daily
- Consume alcohol in moderation - 1 drink/day for women, 2 drinks/day for men
What kinds of foods should you eat to stay healthy?
Eat these healthy foods to stay healthy:
- Wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains (i.e., whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, and oats)
- Lean unprocessed meats, poultry, and omega-3 rich fish
- Low-fat or fat-free dairy (or dairy alternatives)
- Tasty nuts and seeds (i.e., almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds)
- Healthy fats and oils (i.e., extra-virgin olive oil, coconut, and canola)
For Further Information
To learn more about life expectancy, chronic disease, and how to stay healthy check out the following resources:
Mortality in the United States, 2015: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db267.htm
Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion: https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/index.htm
2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans: https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/
Can a healthy diet help?
Eating a healthy diet can prevent most chronic diseases. Maintaining a healthy body weight reduces the risk of many serious chronic diseases like coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.