Navigation Links
Getting 50-year-old Americans as healthy as Europeans could save Medicare and Medicaid $632 billion by 2050
Date:7/28/2011

Forty years ago, Americans could expect to live slightly longer than Europeans. This has since reversed: in spite of similar levels of economic development, Americans now live about a year-and-a-half less, on average, than their Western European counterparts, and also less than people in most other developed nations. How did Americans fall behind?

A study in the July 2011 issue of Social Science & Medicine is the first to calculate the fiscal consequences of the growing life expectancy gap over the next few decades. The study also pinpoints the crucial age at which U.S. life expectancy starts to deteriorate.

Specifically, researchers from the University of Southern California and colleagues at RAND Corp. and Harvard School of Public Health find that health in middle-age around the age of 50 is overwhelmingly the main contributor to disparities in life expectancy between Americans and Europeans.

In the first half of the last century, average life expectancy increased by saving more babies, explains author Dana Goldman, director of the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at USC and Norman Topping/National Medical Enterprises Chair in Medicine and Public Policy at USC. "But now it is reduction in mortality among the elderly, rather than the young, that propels increases in life expectancy."

"The question is whether 'being American' is an independent mortality risk factor," Goldman said.

Accounting for levels of socioeconomic diversity in the United States and predicted future demographic estimates, the researchers found much of the life expectancy gap would disappear if the United States lowered prevalence of middle-aged obesity and obesity-related chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension to European levels.

The researchers also consider the health consequences of smoking on future life expectancy trends. While the prevalence of smoking is likely to continue decreasing in the future, the results of this study correspond to a National Research Council study led by Eileen Crimmins, AARP Chair in Gerontology at the USC Davis School of Gerontology.

Released in January 2011, Crimmins' research looked at life expectancy over the last 25 years and found that smoking and to a lesser extent obesity were the two major reasons why U.S. life expectancy has fallen short of other high-income nations in the past.

Improving American health during middle age in the future to increase life expectancy would increase later-life pension benefits. But this expenditure would be offset by a significant decrease in health care costs at least $17,791 per person, the researchers estimate.

Though the transition to better health initially raises expenditures, the researchers estimate that by 2050 health care savings from gradual middle-age health improvements could total more than $1.1 trillion.

"The international life expectancy gap appears much easier to explain than gaps within countries: there is no American-specific effect on longevity beyond differences in disease at age 50," explained author Darius Lakdawalla, Director of Research at the Schaeffer Center at USC and associate professor in the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development.

The research offers compelling evidence that poor health behaviors among middle-aged Americans and not inefficiency in the U.S. health care system are primarily responsible for earlier death. Indeed, prior research has shown that the U.S. does a good job keeping people alive once they are sick, ranking highly in life expectancy among people with chronic or terminal illness.

The researchers looked at a group of Western European countries including Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain and Sweden.


'/>"/>

Contact: Suzanne Wu
suzanne.wu@usc.edu
213-740-0252
University of Southern California
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Americans still may not be getting enough calcium
2. Getting closer to a better biocontrol for garden pests
3. Getting organized: Berkeley Lab study shows how breast cell communities organize into breast tissue
4. Getting rid of cattle fever ticks
5. Getting a tail up on conservation?
6. Warning system inadequate to prevent swimmers from getting sick at inland lakes
7. Getting a step ahead of pathogens
8. Getting young scientists into the science teacher pipeline
9. Solid oxide fuel cells getting closer to the market
10. Research is getting closer to understanding critical nucleus in haze formation, prof says
11. Preventing cells from getting the kinks out of DNA
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/5/2017)... KEY FINDINGS The global market for stem ... 25.76% during the forecast period of 2017-2025. The rise ... growth of the stem cell market. Download ... The global stem cell market is segmented on the ... cell market of the product is segmented into adult ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... March 30, 2017 The research team of ... three-dimensional (3D) fingerprint identification by adopting ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae ... realm of speed and accuracy for use in identification, crime investigation, ... cost. ... A research ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... 2017  Catholic Health Services (CHS) has been ... (HIMSS) Analytics for achieving Stage 6 on the ... In addition, CHS previously earned a place in ... electronic medical record (EMR). "HIMSS Analytics ... EMR usage in an outpatient setting.  This recognition ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 11, 2017 , ... A new study published in Fertility ... fresh in vitro fertilization (IVF) transfer cycles. The multi-center matched cohort ... After comparing the results from the fresh and frozen transfer cohorts, the authors ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... Center’s FirstHand program has won a US2020 STEM Mentoring Award. Representatives of the ... for Excellence in Volunteer Experience from US2020. , US2020’s mission is to change ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... and business process optimization firm for the life sciences and healthcare industries, announces ... conference in San Francisco. , The presentation, “Automating GxP Validation for Agile Cloud ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... Charlotte, N.C. (PRWEB) , ... October 09, 2017 , ... ... Purple announced Dr. Christopher Stubbs, a professor in Harvard University’s Departments of Physics and ... Dr. Stubbs was a member of the winning team for the 2015 Breakthrough Prize ...
Breaking Biology Technology: