Never before have Americans enjoyed lives as long as today. But will it keep up?
We Are Doomed! Doomed!
Listening to the various health and fitness gurus and movements, you get the impression that civilization is doomed.
Genetically modified organisms, pharma giants out to poison us, industrialized food empty of nutrients – their list of adversaries determined to kill us in an underhand manner stretches wide.
And yet people live longer and longer.
People Never Before Lived This Long
Researchers from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) took data from 2011 and 2012 and extrapolated life expectancy, looking at how and why people died and what causes of death increased or decreased.
The key findings:
- A child born in 2012 has a life expectancy of 78.8 years – the highest ever
- If the child was a girl, it can expect to reach the age of 81.2
- A male child on average will reach 76.4 years
- If you were 65 in 2012 and a woman, you can look forward to 20.5 more years
- As a 65 year old man, you have another 17.9 years
Suicide Rates Are Up
On the other hand, the rates of suicides is at its highest level in 25 years. The CDC says it’s “hard to say why,” but I wager that increasing pressure in a society that expects high rates of vocational, economical and social mobility is involved.
In sober numbers the suicide rate rose to 12.6 suicide deaths per 100,000 Americans. That’s the highest since 1987, when the rate was 12.8.
It makes it to the top 10 leading causes of death:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory diseases
- Unintentional injuries
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Influenza and pneumonia
- Kidney disease
And The Future?
I wonder if it will keep up in the future. One way or the other we will reach a biological “end point,” where life expectancy can’t go up any further, due to nothing else than our bodies not being built to live infinitely.
But will we reach that point? I think it likely that better cancer treatments and other improvements in medical procedures will be outweighed by premature deaths from obesity.
Picture courtesy of Tim & Selena Middleton.