Guns, Drugs And Cars: The Reasons Why Americans Die Younger Than Other Developed Countries

Posted: Feb 10 2016, 8:50am CST | by , Updated: Feb 10 2016, 11:16am CST, in News | Latest Science News


Guns, Drugs and Cars: The Reasons Why Americans Die Younger than Other Developed Countries
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Guns, drug overdose and car crashes are the major causes of US lower life expectancy compared to other wealthy countries.

American’s have a lower life expectancy compared to people living in other wealthy countries. Researchers have found that gun injuries, car crashes and drug overdoses are mainly to blame for it.

The life expectancy means the average period a person can expect to live. The life expectancy for American women and men is 81.2 and 76.4 years, respectively, while citizens of other high-income countries have 83.4 for women and 78.6 for men. The research has found that guns, cars and drugs are three major causes behind this gap between United State and other developed countries such as Australia and England. 

Firearm related injuries account for 21 percent, drug overdose 14 percent, and motor vehicle crashes 13 percent of deaths. These causes combined are responsible for 6 percent of deaths among U.S. men and 3 percent among U.S. women, reflecting why Americans are not living longer. 

For the study, researchers looked at three very causes which lead to more than 100,000 deaths in the US per year and found that these causes are making people in the United States die so young. In other words, more people are murdered in the US compared to other high-income countries as well as more people die of drug overdose and car accidents. 

“The United State experiences lower life expectancy at birth than many other high-income countries. Although research has focused on the mortality of the population older than 50 years, much of this life expectancy gap reflects mortality at younger ages, when mortality is dominated by injury deaths, and many decades of expected life are lost.” Authors wrote in the study.

For the study, researchers used data from US National Vital Statistics System and World Health Organization Mortality database and figured out the age, sex and leading causes behind those deaths. Then, they compared US death rate to other countries who had the similar levels of development: Australia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

It was found that people in those countries live, on average, 2.2 years longer than people in US while three causes of this comparatively lower life expectancy were also popped up.

“Although the reasons for the gap in life expectancy at birth between the United States and comparable countries are complex, a substantial portion of this gap reflects just three causes of injuries.” Study concludes. 

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The Author

Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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