A Spanish flu pandemic infected approximately one-third of the global population in 1918. In the United States alone, about 675,000 people died, enough to contribute to a decline in the country’s life expectancy. For a century, this decline remained singular in the annals of American health ― until last month, when the National Center for Health Statistics reported that, between 2016 and 2017, U.S. life expectancy dropped from 78.7 to 78.6 years.
This marks the third consecutive year that life expectancy in the U.S. has decreased, a multiyear drop not seen since that 1918 flu pandemic. And it reflects a longer-term trend in which U.S. life expectancy has lagged relative to other economically comparable countries. Overall, our lives have gotten longer, but at a slower rate than our peers.
Why has U.S. life expectancy slowed to its present reversal? The reasons cited by the National Center for Health Statistics are largely twofold: suicide and opioid deaths. But the real explanation as to why those issues continue to worsen is because America has failed to invest in our nation’s health.
Read the full piece at HuffPost.