Death Rates Are on the Rise Among Young Americans. Why?

Life expectancy is dropping and mortality rates are climbing

death rates
Why are death rates rising among young Americans?
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By Kayla Kibbe / November 28, 2019 6:35 am

Death rates have been on the rise among young and middle-aged Americans over the past decade according to a new study published Tuesday, the Washington Post reported.

Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the study highlights an alarming increase in deaths among young Americans from suicide, drug overdoses, liver disease and dozens of other causes, leading to a decrease in overall life expectancy in the United States for three straight years.

This surprising increase in mortality transcends gender, racial and ethnic lines, broadly affecting Americans between the ages of 25 to 64. Those in what is often considered the prime of adult life, the 25 to 34 age group, saw the sharpest increase, with death rates shooting up 29 percent from 2010 to 2017.

The potential causes for this shocking increase in mortality among the nation’s young adults are myriad. “Some of it may be due to obesity, some of it may be due to drug addiction, some of it may be due to distracted driving from cellphones,” said the lead author of the report, Steven H. Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University. Meanwhile, according to Woolf, the breadth of the trend “suggests that the cause has to be systemic, that there’s some root cause that’s causing adverse health across many different dimensions for working-age adults.”

The trend highlights the United States’ growing “health disadvantage” compared to other wealthy countries. Life expectancy in the U.S. has increasingly lagged behind other comparable nations since 1998, and now the effects are becoming harder to ignore as the country’s mortality rate rises.

“It’s supposed to be going down, as it is in other countries,” said Woolf. “The fact that that number is climbing, there’s something terribly wrong.”

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