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The Life Expectancy Of Americans Just Got Shorter, New Study Reveals

We are on a downward trend.

This may be very discouraging to hear, but according to a new study, Americans aren't living as long as they once were. In fact, as of 2021, the study states the average life expectancy in the U.S. is now 76.6 years of age, which decreased from 78.86 in 2019. According to the data, the average life expectancy of other affluent countries exceeds the life expectancy of Americans by over five years. Why are we not living as long as we once were? Read on to learn more about the decline in life expectancy in the U.S., and next, be sure to check out The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.

These are the leading causes of death in the U.S.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the top two leading causes of death in the U.S. are heart disease and cancer. What swiftly moved into third place? You may have guessed it—COVID-19 became the #3 cause of mortality in 2020. Following COVID-19 for highest causes of death in the country listed in order are unintentional injuries, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, and kidney disease is the lowest percentage on the list. The CDC states the average life expectancy for Americans was 77 years of age in 2020, which is around a 1.8-year drop from 2019.

Related: Drink This Much Water Each Day To Prevent Heart Failure, New Study Says

Here's how much life expectancy decreased in the U.S. over the past few years

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Recent research published by medRxiv (which was not yet peer-reviewed), states that life expectancy in 19 "peer countries" increased between 2020 and 2021 by 0.28 years. The average life expectancy of Americans decreased by 0.39 years in 2021, and it fell by 1.87 years in 2020.

Dr. Steven Woolf, study author and director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University revealed in a statement (via CNN), "This speaks volumes about the life consequences of how the U.S. handled the pandemic," adding, "What happened in the U.S. is less about the variants than the levels of resistance to vaccination and the public's rejection of practices, such as masking and mandates, to reduce viral transmission."

The medRxiv report also stated, "Although the introduction and availability of effective vaccines were expected to curb U.S. mortality rates in 2021, slow vaccine uptake and the spread of the Delta variant produced large surges in mortality."

There are so many daily habits you can adopt to promote longevity

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Don't despair, because we are in a much better place now than since the start of COVID-19. There are many ways you can better your health and daily habits you can adopt to enhance your chances of living longer. AARP states that genetics are only 25% responsible for how long you will live. Everything else? Well, a lot of it has to do with the choices you make.

AARP has a ton of suggestions to live by in order to promote longevity, based on research from studies and medical journals. Some of their many tips include a nutritious, balanced diet, including lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, whole milk, and plenty of water. They stress the Mediterranean diet—which is chock-full of veggies, fruits, olive oil, nuts, and fish—is extremely beneficial for an overall healthy, long life. Consume the right things, but be mindful of portion control.

Limit your use of ibuprofen, naproxen, and similar painkillers, as they can increase your risk of having a stroke or heart attack, but get plenty of vitamin D. Be sure to sleep enough—specifically, more than 6 hours. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting 7 or more hours of sleep on a nightly basis for those aged 18 through 60; 7 to 9 hours for individuals who are 61 to 64 years of age; and 7 to 8 hours for those who are 65 years of age and older.)

You may also want to draw some inspiration from the long-living individuals who reside in the world's "Blue Zones." These secrets—or "Power 9" factors that promote longevity—include living each day with a purpose, focusing on family, getting active outdoors, and eating healthy foods with portion control.

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For more…

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Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more
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