Life expectancy

Ronald Bailey on HuffPost Live at 5:00 pm EST, Talking Low U.S. Life Expectancy


Americans have fewer birthdays.

I am scheduled to talk at around 5:00 pm this afternoon with three or four other nice people at HuffPost Live about the new Institute of Medicine report, U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health that finds relative to many other developed countries Americans have shorter life expectancies and worse health outcomes. Go here at 5-ish today to listen in on the show, "American Health Near the Bottom of Developed Nations."

Although it needs a bit of updating, for some background see my 2008 column, "Accidents, Murders, Preemies, Fat and U.S. Life Expectancy."

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  1. I expect to die in the next American Revolution. Is that what he means?

  2. “I am scheduled to talk at around 5:00 pm this afternoon with three or four other nice people at HuffPost Live”.

    If you say so.

    1. KS: My default is that everyone is nice until proven otherwise.

      1. Ron, which of us have proven otherwise?

      2. I’m with you, Ron. Still shocks new folks I run across at work. “Also, I’ll trust you unless and until you show me that I can’t.” Good on ya!

        1. How do you guys maintain these policies in light of the preponderance of evidence against them?

          My experience has been that most people are nice until you start talking ideology (politics), and most people are trustworthy only if you know where they live.

          1. I’m talking most-specifically about work. It works,

            But I find most people I run across ARE trustworthy and nice in everyday interaction. I find I tend to get what I give. I’m also not stupid about it – when we’re talking about real money, safety, security, something else important – I take necessary precautions so I don’t get burned. Cause that’s just prudent.

            But being on a HuffPo talkfest? I’m with Ron – I assume my colleagues aren’t assholes until they decide to prove otherwise.

  3. I am scheduled to talk at around 5:00 pm this afternoon with three or four other nice people at HuffPost Live about the new Institute of Medicine report, U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health that finds relative to many other developed countries Americans have shorter life expectancies and worse health outcomes.

    You’re going to call bullshit on that while the rest talk about the need for universal healthcare. I know the script.

    1. Yep. And this is exactly why the progs are so hot on “gun research.”

  4. Liberals have had their noses rubbed in that little pile of shit known as the “Americans have shorter lifespans” myth for decades. They refuse to believe anything that doesn’t confirm the narrative.

    1. You’re saying fat people don’t have shorter lifespans?

        1. I’m totally bookmarking that and using it from now on when Tony or Shrike talk.

  5. I find the idea of “health outcomes” vs “life expectancy” interesting. My goal has never been to live forever – more to have fun while alive, and try not to be in pain an poverty when I die. If I shave a few years because I had too much fun in my misspent youth entire life? Meh.

    These debates always seem to presuppose or stipulate that “longest life” is the goal. It’s not mine, and I bet a lot of other people’s as well.

    Have fun, Ronald!

    1. I agree. Baring some pretty amazing medical advances, life has a hell of a lot better quality at 20 or even 50 than it does at 80. I don’t want to die. But at the same time, I am not sure living to a hundred should be an all encompassing goal.

      1. True, unless they find a way to slow the aging process.

        On the other hand, when I’m 80 I’m sure I’ll feel differently.

        1. Maybe maybe not. If your health goes downhill and your friends all die, death starts looking better and better. I have known several older people who were pretty at peace with their death. Sure, they wanted to live. But they wanted to live with things like they were in their youth and middle age, when their spouse was alive and they had a good quality of life. Sadly, that is not an option.

        2. Not gonna lie – I’m 50 and I feel like shit a LOT more than I did in my 30’s. I think about death for the first time. And in the same way I think about it for our old, feeble dog – “when I have more bad days than good days….” If that’s 60, 70, 100…whatever.

          I’ll pull the plug myself if it’s bad enough. I’d have never even HAD that thought 20 years ago. Now? I’ve thought through the process. Cause I’ve felt bad enough at times to say, “I wouldn’t want to live if I was going to feel like this every day.”

          Creepy, huh!?

          1. When you are young, unless you are really unlucky and live through the holocaust or something, you have no idea what death is. It just never enters your mind. You get older and eventually someone close to you dies and death becomes a hell of a lot more real and comprehensible.

    2. Agreed. My final goal in life is to drive off into the desert and die right before I lose the physical ability to drive off into the desert.

      1. Die in a high speed motorcycle accident the day before my kids and grandkids take the old man’s bike away from him.

        1. Dude, I crashed HARD and DIDN’T get killed. I didn’t even have a HEADACHE – that’s what I get for wearing all the gear. (“I’d like to thank HJC helmets, Joe Rocket gloves, Alpinestars boots…”)

          So, my advice to anyone wanting to die this way, based on my experience – don’t wear your gear and go REALLY fast into something. I’d make it 150 just to make sure.

          1. Yeah. That is the problem with motorcycle accidents, they actually are not often fatal. But they are always really painful.

          2. Maybe you can look up that woman who smothers guys with her boobs…

      2. This is it, right!

  6. Is this part of “a long overdue and serious national conversation?”

  7. Some liberals have been against subsidizing biotech and GMO crops so you could bring up the fact that if we ended those subsidies then these frankenfoods everyone is getting fat on will have to compete with safer foods in a free market.

  8. I’m pretty sure the life expectancy at age 18 is about the same in all Western countries. Infant mortality is high because of African-American women who are more likely to have multiple pregnancies.


  10. I remember reading in Leviathan about life in the United States being nasty, brutish, and short.

  11. Can you ask these “three or four other nice people” whether any of them know the difference between descriptive and inferential statistics?

    1. I thought you said there was no math!!

  12. So we live a little less long on average than the Europeans; I honestly don’t see what the big deal is. Carrying the world on our backs is freaking hard! We simply don’t have the luxury of being the worthless lazy bastards that most of them are, and we don’t have an all-encompassing cradle-to-grave welfare state. Of course Block Yomomma is doing everything he possibly can within his power to change all of that.

    1. Having a dynamic, free, risk taking society, can lower ones life span. But it still sounds like a good trade to me.

      1. But, but, the childrenzzzzz!!!1!!

  13. The life expectancy statistic is a little misleading. We have an extremely poor infant-mortality death rate and this pulls down our overall life expectancy. The focus should be on infant mortality and not lifetime healthcare.

    1. And part of the reason our infant mortality rate is so high is because dr’s count stillborns as live births and note the time of death as then.

      At least that’s what I’ve heard.

      1. Ron’s other article mentions a higher rate of low birth weight babies. My guess is we have a higher rate of IVF and old mothers b/c we’re a developed society w/ educated women that are career-first. As always, we rule.

  14. I like your premise, Ron. If we didn’t have such a great healthcare system keeping our fat, homicidal asses alive, then we’d be last in life expectancy b/c we’re just that good at killing ourselves and each other.

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