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:6/21/2016)... 21, 2016 NuData Security announced today that ... of principal product architect and that Jon ... customer development. Both will report directly to ... moves reflect NuData,s strategic growth in its product ... customer demand and customer focus values. ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... Paris Police Prefecture and ... ensure the safety of people and operations in several locations ... Teleste, an international technology group specialised in broadband ... its video security solution will be utilised by ... across the country. The system roll-out is scheduled for the ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... Perimeter Surveillance & Detection Systems, Biometrics & ... & Other Service  The latest report from ... of the global Border Security market . Visiongain ... billion in 2016. Now: In November 2015 ... and hardware technologies for advanced video surveillance. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... UAS ... the launch of their brand, UP4™ Probiotics, into Target stores nationwide. The company, ... proud to add Target to its list of well-respected retailers. This list includes ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced the ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or ... of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for ... as WDR5 represent an exciting class of therapies, ... medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have been ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Houston ... with the Cy-Fair Sports Association to serve as ... the agreement, Houston Methodist Willowbrook will provide sponsorship ... and connectivity with association coaches, volunteers, athletes and ... with the Cy-Fair Sports Association and to bring ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) ... precise treatments and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of ... 15 countries. Read More About the Class of 2016 ... ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology: