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Focus Friday: How should we address US life expectancy on decline?

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Life expectancy in the U.S. is falling. Why do you think this is? And how should we fix it?

[tabgroup][tab title=”Thomas Dwyer”]

Life expectancy declines can be attributed to a variety of things. First of all, the retirement age is on the rise. This means more people are working for larger portions of their life. This can be especially detrimental in job sectors that require physical labor. As Americans, we can increase our life expectancy by making it more affordable to visit the doctor and making it easier to afford retirement. Making it easier to retire doesn’t even mean reducing the age, or anything like that. It can be as simple as educating more Americans on how to be financially responsible. We should also examine the countries that are at the top of the longevity indexes and see what they do that is different from us to see if there are any practices that can be adopted.

Opinion editor Thomas Dwyer is a broadcast journalism sophomore and can be reached [email protected].

[/tab][tab title=”Adib Shafipour”]

Life expectancy in the United States is falling because of the unhealthy foods we consume and the inordinate amount of stress that comes from working, on average, more than any other developed nation on Earth. The United States is the most obese developed nation on Earth, while also being the most overworked developed nation on Earth. This combination of an unhealthy diet with an over-stressed workforce tends to lower the life expectancy of the population. The article also mentions drugs, alcohol and suicide as contributing factors to the declining life expectancy rate. These factors are also a result of overworked and  stressed people, as drugs and alcohol are used, in some part, to alleviate suffering or stress. While the United States has an abundance of resources, wealth, and prosperity, the work-related stress and our diets are decreasing the quality and quantity of our lives.

Opinion columnist Adib Shafipour is a biochemistry sophomore and can be reached at [email protected].

[/tab][tab title=”Jorden Smith”]

A drop in life expectancy was always coming. Good and easy times create weak people who have a lot of free time, especially with the rise in life-easing technology. We’ve had to learn to adapt, and we still are. What are the appropriate uses of technology in correlation with a healthy life? This is something we still need to figure out as a society.

Along with that, we have ascended to a point where food is available and cheap. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; more people are eating. But with that we’ve created extremely unhealthy food that is extremely cheap. But, as Ron Swanson wonderfully articulates, that’s the point.
It’s pretty easy to understand how we got here, but it’s more difficult to figure out how we get out of this slump (even though I like to pretend I have all the answers). Maybe it’s a societal thing; maybe it’s a personal thing. But honestly, everything is a cycle. We’ll go back up soon enough.

Assistant opinion editor Jorden Smith is a political science and creative writing junior and can be reached at [email protected].



  • I blame it mostly on the automobile dependency that many people suffer with. It leads to a sedentary lifestyle. For instance, people will sit at a drive-thru for sustenance, hoping that the wait won’t be too long, even when it’s likely they’ll mess up the order and/or improperly prepare it to meet drive-thru timeliness metrics. People who are fortunate enough to live close to METRO stops/stations don’t even utilize them. METRO can easily supplant some trips (especially ones with no transfers need) and you don’t have to worry about traffic, parking, etc. Instead, people are used to the mindset that they need to drive everywhere instead of using their legs.

    Also those Styrofoam cups that Whataburger, Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s, and others use leach chemicals, whether it’s a cold or hot drink. Not to mention soda is so bad for you, whether it’s diet or not. That’s why I just bring my own Yeti tumbler for filling up at restaurants; usually water or sometimes I’ll use it when I spring for soda/tea. Avoiding plastics with anything you ingest is a pretty good idea. Metal/glass/ceramic all the way.

    People just need to make lifestyle changes instead of excuses all the time. Even if you don’t choose to make time to exercise, you can at least eat better and do simple steps to be a bit more active on a daily basis.

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