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US Life Expectancy Rates Continue To Decline

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From the Ramparts

Junious Ricardo Stanton

US Life Expectancy Rates Continue to Decline


Life expectancy in the United States declined again in 2017, the government said Thursday in a bleak series of reports that showed a nation still in the grip of escalating drug and suicide crises. The data continued the longest sustained decline in expected life span at birth in a century, an appalling performance not seen in the United States since 1915 through 1918. That four-year period included World War I and a flu pandemic that killed 675,000 people in the United States and perhaps 50 million worldwide.”


The US Center for Disease Control just issued a report indicating life expectancy in the United States declined again in 2017. This is the third year in a row a decline has been reported. Health officials are concerned about the trend and are attempting to ascertain exactly why this is happening.

One cause is the rise of drug overdoses and suicides fueled by growing pessimism, economic uncertainty and feelings of hopelessness. “NEW YORK (AP) — Suicides and drug overdoses pushed up U.S. deaths last year, and drove a continuing decline in how long Americans are expected to live. Overall, there were more than 2.8 million U.S. deaths in 2017, or nearly 70,000 more than the previous year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. It was the most deaths in a single year since the government began counting more than a century ago. The increase partly reflects the nation’s growing and aging population. But it’s deaths in younger age groups — particularly middle-aged people — that have had the largest impact on calculations of life expectancy, experts said…CDC officials did not speculate about what’s behind declining life expectancy, but Dr. William Dietz, a disease prevention expert at George Washington University, sees a sense of hopelessness. Financial struggles, a widening income gap and divisive politics are all casting a pall over many Americans, he suggested. “I really do believe that people are increasingly hopeless, and that that leads to drug use, it leads potentially to suicide,” he said. VoteCast, a wide-ranging survey of the electorate conducted by The Associated Press, found voters expressing pessimistic views about the future: About half of voters nationwide said they expect life in America for the next generation to be worse than it is today. Nearly a quarter said life would be better and about as many said it would be the same. VoteCast surveyed more than 115,000 voters nationwide as Americans cast ballots in this year’s midterm elections.”

Depressing socio-economic conditions are being blamed for the rise in US suicides. “During 2000–2016, the suicide rate among the U.S. working age population (persons aged 16–64 years) increased 34%, from 12.9 per 100,000 population to 17.3 ( To better understand suicide among different occupational groups and inform suicide prevention efforts, CDC analyzed suicide deaths by Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) major groups for decedents aged 16–64 years from the 17 states participating in both the 2012 and 2015 National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) ( The occupational group with the highest male suicide rate in 2012 and 2015 was Construction and Extraction (43.6 and 53.2 per 100,000 civilian noninstitutionalized working persons, respectively), whereas the group with the highest female suicide rate was Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media (11.7 [2012] and 15.6 [2015]). The largest suicide rate increase among males from 2012 to 2015 (47%) occurred in the Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media occupational group (26.9 to 39.7) and among females, in the Food Preparation and Serving Related group, from 6.1 to 9.4 (54%). ”

We do not have to succumb to this trend. We are not powerless; we can impact the quality and even the length of our lives. When we examine our people’s “lifestyles” we realize we are contributing to our own ill health and premature death. It is not about germs and bacteria. Good health is a holistically inclusive process. Our health is based upon our mental, emotional, spiritual as well as physical state. Our thinking and mental functioning impacts our wellbeing. If we are constantly thinking, imagining and self-talking negativity, envisioning and anticipating worst case scenarios this will impact your emotional state; your emotional state in turn triggers hormones, enzymes and electro-chemical reactions within your body that impact your heart rate which raises or lowers your blood pressure and influences your autoimmune system’s ability to maintain an optimal state of homeostasis and equilibrium.

Our African ancestors were the first physicians/psychologists. They realized the importance of maintaining spiritual and physical vitality. They studied themselves and came to some very important conclusions about life, living, health and wellbeing. For Africans health is an integrated systemic process: it is spiritual, personal, social and environmental. Optimum health is generated through harmonious living, harmonious relationships with THE CREATOR, one’s self, others and nature.

Ancient Africans admonished living a life of moral rectitude (Ma’at), so that one’s heart was light, guilt free, and one’s relationships with others and nature was righteous. Read the 42 Declarations of Innocence which were the precursor to the Ten Commandments and you will see just how deep and profound African culture was.

Keep it light, lighten up don’t allow the news to depress you in fact turn it off. Don’t get caught up in the negativity around you. Meditate and connect with your DIVINE SELF, honor and venerate yourself, your ancestors and live a life worthy of our heritage. These along with a healthy diet and always getting ample sleep will enhance the quality of your life and lengthen it.



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