Smoking, Obesity, Lack Of Insurance May Be Shortening Some Americans’ Life Spans


Topics: Aging, Health Disparities, Public Health

Sep 21, 2012

The New York Times reports that the nation’s life-expectancy trend has reversed by four years since 1990 for the country’s least-educated whites.

The New York Times: Reversing Trend, Life Span Shrinks For Some Whites
The reasons for the decline remain unclear, but researchers offered possible explanations, including a spike in prescription drug overdoses among young whites, higher rates of smoking among less educated white women, rising obesity, and a steady increase in the number of the least educated Americans who lack health insurance (Tavernise, 9/20).

In other news –

Bloomberg: Alzheimer’s Leaves Patients, Caregivers Feeling Isolated
Patients with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, and their caregivers say the illness leaves them feeling isolated and apart from family, friends and life’s typical connections, a report shows. About a quarter of people with dementia hide or conceal their diagnosis because of the stigma surrounding the disease and 40 percent say they are excluded from everyday life, according to the World Alzheimer Report 2012 released today by London-based Alzheimer’s Disease International. About 36 million people worldwide are living with dementia and the numbers will more than triple to 115 million by 2050, according to the report (Ostrow, 9/20).

This is part of Kaiser Health News‘ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

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