National Center for Health Statistics reports decreased U.S. life expectancy

Posted at 7:19 PM, Dec 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-08 19:19:24-05

Life expectancy in the United States is shrinking.

The National Center for Health Statistics reports the average American's life expectancy fell about a month between 2014 and 2015. Now, the NCHS says the average person is expected to live 78 years and nine months.

New numbers from the NCHS also point out that eight out of ten of the country's leading causes of death, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes, increased in 2015. 

Dr. Charles Hennekens says the numbers reflect the way Americans live catching up with them.

"We've been living longer, but not healthier in my view," Hennekens said.

Hennekens believes the decline in mortality rates and increase in life expectancy over the past decade is thanks to new medicine and treatment for diseases.

"Even the better living through chemistry these NCHS data are suggesting are not enough to stem the rising tide of our poor lifestyle habits," he said.

Hennekens blames three major problems.

"The chief culprits remain cigarettes, obesity and physical inactivity," he said.

Hennekens says those are the leading causes of the life-threatening diseases taking more and more lives.

"If you avoid cigarettes, avoid or treat obesity and avoid physical inactivity, you're going to go a long way to reducing not just your risk of heart attacks or strokes, but a lot of major cancers, as well," he said.

NCHS data shows the rate of people dying of cancer declined slightly between 2014 and 2015.

Hennekens says he believes that's a result of enhanced Leukemia and Lymphoma treatment and early screening for breast and prostate cancers.