(USNewsMag.com) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed devastating news on Thursday. Their latest report confirmed that life expectancy in the US is at its lowest point since 1996, a concerning trend that was accelerated by the pandemic and other related causes.
A new report from the CDC shows that U.S. life expectancy has decreased for the second year in a row. https://t.co/PVHDrXZhW9
— Complex (@Complex) December 22, 2022
The latest data reveals that the US has erased approximately 25 years’ worth of advances in health. Unfortunately, the average life expectancy rate fell from 77 years to 76.4 years. This rate dropped in every age category over the age of 1 year. Heart disease, cancer, and COVID-19 remained the top 3 leading causes of death in 2021, similar to trends from 2020. Something else to note is that younger individuals are dying more than in previous years, with 137,000 more deaths reported in 2021 among those aged 25 to 64.
Another leading cause of death and contributor to the reduction in life expectancy may have been a drug overdose. There were more drug overdose deaths in 2021 than there were in 2020. They also currently account for more than one-third of all accidental deaths in the nation. Most of the drug-related deaths were due to opioids or synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, as well as other illegal drugs such as cocaine.
Young Americans are suffering and dying at worrisome rates, and the federal government is paying little attention. While many may not necessarily be dying directly from the pandemic, most are dying from the indirect effects of the virus and related restrictions. Forced isolation for long periods of time worsened the mental health of our youth. 37% of high school students felt they experienced poor mental health and 44% reported feeling sad or hopeless in 2021.
Depression, suicide rates/attempts, and feelings of despair and economic insecurity have only exacerbated since most states implemented draconian restrictions to supposedly “curb” the pandemic. Now we learn that most of these restrictions did more harm than good, reversing decades’ worth of advancements in every area, including the education of our very same children. The average child in this country is behind in school, and it’s going to take years to fix that. US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy admitted last year that emergency room visits for suspected suicide attempts in early 2021 rose by 51% for adolescent girls – compared to only 4% of adolescent boys.
I think it’s time for an all-of-the-above method and holistic approach to fixing this crisis. Our children need the adults in the room to get a grip and commit to common sense policies. The federal government needs to address this problem and stop repeating the same mistakes anytime another pandemic comes our way. These data points should be a wake-up call for everyone.
Seeing as heart disease remains the #1 leading cause of death, schools should do a better job of educating children on keeping themselves active, exercising, and eating healthy. Workplaces should implement programs to incentivize employees to do the same. Taking a proactive approach instead of a reactive approach may help prevent sudden or chronic-related deaths in the future, or at least make most of these deaths less likely in the long run. Encouraging others to seek help and to stay distracted may help alleviate symptoms related to poor mental health.
Stay connected and check in on your friends and family every now and then. You never know what anyone is going through. Making sure your loved ones feel supported can go a long way to improving one’s mental health and overall quality of life.
Vianca Rodriguez, Independent Political Analyst
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