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Is humanity eating itself into an early grave?

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The significant increase in life expectancy seen around the globe during the past century is primarily attributed to a reduction in child mortality, improved sanitation, the manufacture of new medicines and vaccines, and numerous other advancements in science and healthcare. Life spans for residents of the UK and USA increased from around 50 to 80 years during this time. This heartening news does, however, mask differences in life expectancy between poor and affluent citizens of those countries. The wealthiest communities in the UK typically live seven years longer than their poorer counterparts and benefit from an additional 17 years of good health during their lifetimes. Research reveals a 20-year difference in life expectancy exists between individual counties in the USA.

Moreover, the aforementioned steady rise in US citizens’ overall longevity has now stalled. The US-based public health body the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported the overall life expectancy (with both sexes included) fell by 0.1 years between 2014 and 2015 to 78.8 years. Life expectancy among Americans aged 65 remained static during this time, and a negligible change in the infant mortality rate was deemed insignificant, suggesting that the increasing number of deaths which produced the statistic did not occur at either extreme of life. The CDC also noted a small but concurrent increase in eight of the top ten causes of death among Americans, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Although a single year hardly makes a trend, new figures released earlier this month revealed the life expectancy of the US population fell again in 2016 to 78.6 years: the first time a fall has occurred two years in a row since........

© RT.com