Global Burden of Disease Reports on Life Expectancy Rates

HealthDay News — The United States lags behind other advanced nations when it comes to infant mortality and the life expectancy of its citizens, according to a comprehensive review of global health statistics published in The Lancet.

These findings are part of the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors Study 2015, a scientific analysis of more than 300 diseases and injuries in 195 countries and territories.

Infant mortality in the United States amounted in 2015 to 6 deaths out of every 1000 children younger than 5, while the average for all high-income nations combined was about 5 deaths per 1000. US men had an average life expectancy of 76.7 years in 2015, with about 66.8 of those years spent in good health. Life expectancy for US women was 81.5 years on average, with 69.5 years spent in good health. By comparison, all high-income countries combined had an average 78.1 years of life expectancy for men and 83.4 years for women, the study reported. Years lived in good health averaged 68.9 for men and 72.2 for women.

The researchers found that drug abuse and diabetes are causing a disproportionate amount of ill health and early death in the United States, compared with other countries. US deaths linked to opioid use increased more than five-fold over the past 25 years, increasing from nearly 4000 deaths in 1990 to more than 21,300 in 2015. In the United States, heart disease remains the leading cause of death, resulting in more than 532,000 deaths in 2015. The second top cause of death was Alzheimer’s disease, with 282,530 deaths in 2015. Lung cancer ranked third with 187,390 deaths.

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  1. GBD 2015 Mortality and Causes of Death Collaborators. Global, regional, and national life expectancy, all-cause mortality, and cause-specific mortality for 249 causes of death, 1980-2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. Lancet. 2016 Oct 8;388(10053):1459-1544. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31012-1.