Good news for Money Saving Parents everywhere: Americans are living longer, according to a report issued by the Center for Disease Control.
Official data from the CDC shows the average lifespan for a United States resident at an all- time record high of 78.8 years in 2012. Many factors can be credited, but most experts agree that improved lifestyle and better medical treatment are at the top of the list. “Americans are living longer and are more aware of preventing chronic diseases,” said Center for Disease Control epidemiologist Dr. Jiaquan Xu. “Life expectancy has increased because people are eating healthier and exercising,” Xu said.
There is still a significant disparity between the life expectancy of men and women. Female children born in 2012 can expect to live to the age of 81 on average. Male children can expect to live to about 76. However, the difference is smaller among those who have already reached their golden years. For those age 65 in 2012, life expectancy for women is 85.5 while the life expectancy for men is 83.
What the above statistics show is that men are more likely to die young, directly contributing to an overall life expectancy difference of 5 years between men and women. But once men and women reach 65, the chances of death are more even as the smaller, 2.5 year difference illustrates.
Leading causes of death are about the same in 2012 as in previous years. About 75 percent of all deaths in 2012 were attributable to one of these top 10 causes: heart disease, cancer, stroke, respiratory disease, unintentional injuries, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, influenza & pneumonia, kidney disease, and suicide. Death rates were down in most categories and they fell about 1 percent overall from 2011 to 2012. The largest drops in the death rate were in the areas of influenza & pneumonia, which fell 8.3 percent, and in Alzheimer’s, which fell by 3.6 percent.
The only one of the leading causes of death to increase in 2012 was suicide, which jumped by 2.4 percent.
Infant deaths also declined in 2012. The total deaths for the year were 23,629, a decline of 356 from 2011. The top 10 causes of infant mortality in 2012 were exactly the same as in 2011. They are birth defects, low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome, maternal complications, unintentional injuries, umbilical cord and placental complications, bacterial infections, breathing problems, circulation problems, and newborn bleeding. The drop in total infant mortality is good news for parents-to-be and reflects healthier living on the part of pregnant mothers as well as better and more consistent health care.
Much of the gains in life expectancy over the past few decades are due to improvements in lifestyle, and that includes better eating habits, more exercise, and preventative health care. People are smoking less and working out more. And screening for cancer and other diseases is up, leading to early detection and more effective treatment.
The most important factor to greater life expectancy, whether young or old, is taking measures to stop problems before they begin. Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a preventive cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, agrees that prevention is the number one factor to living a long, happy life.
“The most common causes of death are due to how you choose to live,” said Steinbaum. “If we can get how we eat and how we exercise under control, we can prevent many major causes of death,” she said.
Copyright 2014, Bryan Carey