Life expectancy is up in the United States. We know this because the headlines have been trumpeting the news floating around all week. So maybe it’s time for a closer look at what factors affect life expectancy -- and what you can do about it.
The National Vital Statistics Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points to these causes of death (no surprises if you've been keeping up on health news). Heart disease is the No. 1 cause (616,067) followed by cancer (562,875), stroke (135,952), chronic lower respiratory diseases (127,924) and accidents (123,706).
Clearly you have no control over some causes, such as accidents. But some you do. Last year a study published by Public Library of Science defined risk factors that reduce life expectancy -- ones that are preventable.
Researchers found that smoking, high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose, and overweight and obesity reduce life expectancy in the U.S. by 4.9 years in men and 4.1 years in women. The study says: