In 2015 and 2016, for the first time in half a century, Americans' life expectancy regressed. This bucked a long-term trend marked by lengthening lifespans, and puts the U.S. somewhat at odds with other developed nations. Not only did U.S. life expectancy shorten (to 78.6 years), it lagged behind the average for similar countries (nearly 82 years).
Dr. Carole Myers says there are several major factors: drug overdose deaths, obesity, inequality and policy. Each has an effect on a person's health and their expected lifespan. In this edition of HealthConnections, life expectancy in the U.S. and the factors that influence it.