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Americans Have 36.5 Less Days to Live

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What would you do if you knew that you had 36 less days to live?

Would you travel the world? Would you spend more time with your family? Would you go on a 2 week bender on some Caribbean island with some stranger you pick up at the airport? I guess that’s what I would do. Yeah, that’s definitely what I would do.

Anyway, the scary fact is, the National Center for Health Statistics reported that life expectancy for Americans fell for the first time in 15 years, with people born in 2008 losing 36.5 days of expected life.

The last decrease in life expectancy was in 1993.

So, what’s to blame?

Hard to say. But blaming the recession seems easy, so let’s do that. As MSNBC points out: “overall life expectancy fell to 77.8 years, down slightly from 77.9 in 2007, the year that the recession began, and below a record high of 78.1 years in 2006.”

Life expectancy is determined by taking the death rates in a specific year and calculating the average number of years remaining for a person born in 2008.

Which means, slightly more people kicked the can this year than last. And considering the bevy of terrible economic news, who can really blame them for wanting out?

But there was some good news, some of which conflicts with the “blame the recession” thesis.

For starters, death rates from heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke all fell.

Economist Christopher J. Ruhm tells MSNBC that “people are probably exercising a bit more, eating a bit healthier because they’re not eating out so much, maybe they’re sleeping more…those modifiable lifestyle factors change in a recession.”

Also, the rate of deaths from motor vehicle accidents and homicides was down.

So were the number of deaths from workplace injuries.

Well, then again, that’s probably just because no one’s working.
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