U.S. life expectancy is low due to high level of obesity

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania conclude that life expectancy in the U.S. is lower than those of other high-income countries due to the U.S. high obesity rate. A detailed report can be found in their research paper, “Contribution of Obesity to International Differences in Life Expectancy“.

…obesity reduced longevity in all countries ranging from half a year for females in Switzerland to more than a year and a half for US males. These effects have been more severe in the United States than in other countries. Two key features of the US distribution of BMI that distinguish it from comparison countries include an unusually high rate of obesity in younger age groups and significantly higher rates of severe obesity.  High levels of obesity in the United States appear to be strongly implicated in its relatively low level of longevity. We believe that this demonstration should add urgency to public health efforts aimed at achieving healthier weights for Americans.

This is further proof that the obesity epidemic isn’t a myth. The American lifestyle consists of fast food diets, addiction to junk and fattening foods, eating out, and high dependence on the wrong types of technology (like TV) that reduce our levels of activity. These traits seem to be increasingly more pronounced in children. The study specifically pointed out that the U.S. has “an unusually high rate of obesity in younger age groups.”

I suggest a lifestyle change – a lifestyle that includes the exact opposite of things we are currently doing to add to the U.S. obesity level. Eliminate unhealthy habits; avoid junk and fast food by cooking and eating in; spend more time outdoors walking and running errands; and especially encourage your children to exercise – perform fun activities like dance. Join them too!

A number of health challenges in my 40s got me fearing an early death and motivated me to change my habits.


Dr John Ellis MD

Board-certified anesthesiologist, with expertise in cardiovascular anesthesia and the implications of obesity and sleep apnea in anesthesia. See vascularanesthesia.com for professional information. Dr. Ellis has used the strategies in here to: (1) lose 120 lbs over 18 months, (2) stop all antihypertensive medicines, and (3) no longer need CPAP treatment for sleep apnea.

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