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Life Expectancy for Americans is Up, but "Healthy" Life Expectancy is Down

Americans are living longer but not necessarily better, reports indicate.

| BY Kent McDill

Americans are living longer, but not especially healthier, two published reports from the University of Washington indicate.

A Spectrem Group Millionaires Corner report says investors are concerned about their health and the health of their spouse more than most other concerns.

A University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation report that came out July 10 said American men on average live to be 76.2 years of age, while American women live to 81.3. For men, that is an increase of 4.6 years since 1993 and for women the increase is 2.7 years.

However, the University of Washington Institute also studied healthy life expectancy, the years one would live in relative good health, and found that the United States has dropped from 14th to 26th overall among 34 wealthy developed countries. That information flies in the face of the effects of health spending, as the United States spends far more than any other nation on earth per head on health care.

The Millionaire Corner survey reports that when asked to rate their No. 1 personal concern, ultra-high net worth investors said maintaining their financial position was first (25 percent), followed by their own health (22 percent) and the health of their spouse (16 percent). When asked whether they had any personal concerns, “the health of my spouse’’ was the No. 1 concern overall, although that percentage dropped from 65 to 63 from 2012. “My own health” was ranked third, but it too dropped from 60 percent to 56 percent.

Seventy-one percent of professionals said they had concern about their spouse’s health, the highest number in the Millionaire Corner study.  

The University of Washington studies were released under the direction of First Lady Michelle Obama, who will present the results soon at a meeting of U.S. mayors at an invitation-only event at the White House in her continuing efforts to improve the nation’s health outlook.

The report said results do indicate vastly different results based on where one lives in the United States, as well as disparities related to economic groups and ethnicity. The report does say that African-American men in America are living 7.5 years longer on average than they were in the 1990s, while African-American women are living 4.7 years longer. Advances in awareness of the dangers of smoking are believed to be one of the major beneficial factors.

The survey considered 291 diseases and injuries that effect healthy life expectancy. It also looked at specific counties in the United States, and discovered that 90 percent of U.S. counties have a life expectancy rate lower than the country of Greece, 87 percent are below Cuba’s numbers, and more than 20 percent of all U.S. counties are below the average life expectancy rate of people in Syria.

About the Author

Kent McDill

Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.

In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.

McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.

McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy  Buffett and all things Disney.