Americans are Living Longer but Sicker Lives

Americans are Living Longer but Sicker Lives
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Though our life expectancy is improving, our health expectancy is not. In fact we are living fewer years without serious disease and disability.

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A disturbing analysis of mortality and morbidity was recently published in the Journal of Gerontology. Are we living longer? Yes. But are those extra healthy years? No, and it’s worse than that—we’re actually living fewer healthy years than we used to.

A 20-year-old woman in 1998 could expect to live about 60 more years; whereas a 20-year-old in 2006 could look forward to 61 more years; so, we gained a year. Great—and same with men.
That 20-year-old in the 90s, though, would only live about 10 or 11 of those years with a serious disease, whereas closer to now, it’s more like 12 or 13 with a serious disease. So we live a year longer, but we come down with a serious disease, like a stroke, cancer, or diabetes, two years earlier. So it’s like one step forward, two steps back.

They also measured one’s ability to function. In the study you were considered disabled if you couldn’t walk a quarter mile, couldn’t walk up 10 steps, couldn’t stand or sit for two hours without having to lie down, or couldn’t stand, bend, or kneel without using special equipment.

Using those criteria, we live one year longer, but in less than just one decade, we not only have more years with serious disease, and more years unable to function. So we’re living longer in sickness, not in health; a longer lifespan, but shorter health span.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Serena.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Old Shoe Woman / flickr

A disturbing analysis of mortality and morbidity was recently published in the Journal of Gerontology. Are we living longer? Yes. But are those extra healthy years? No, and it’s worse than that—we’re actually living fewer healthy years than we used to.

A 20-year-old woman in 1998 could expect to live about 60 more years; whereas a 20-year-old in 2006 could look forward to 61 more years; so, we gained a year. Great—and same with men.
That 20-year-old in the 90s, though, would only live about 10 or 11 of those years with a serious disease, whereas closer to now, it’s more like 12 or 13 with a serious disease. So we live a year longer, but we come down with a serious disease, like a stroke, cancer, or diabetes, two years earlier. So it’s like one step forward, two steps back.

They also measured one’s ability to function. In the study you were considered disabled if you couldn’t walk a quarter mile, couldn’t walk up 10 steps, couldn’t stand or sit for two hours without having to lie down, or couldn’t stand, bend, or kneel without using special equipment.

Using those criteria, we live one year longer, but in less than just one decade, we not only have more years with serious disease, and more years unable to function. So we’re living longer in sickness, not in health; a longer lifespan, but shorter health span.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Serena.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Old Shoe Woman / flickr

Nota del Doctor

For more on diet and life expectancy, see my videos Research Into Reversing Aging, and Harvard’s Meat and Mortality Studies, plus my other videos on lifespan. Disabling diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes can be prevented, treated, and even reversed with a healthy plant-based diet. Check out my videos on chronic disease. Next, I’ll illustrate how one might be able to mimic the life-extending Benefits of Caloric Restriction Without the Actual Restricting.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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