This article was originally posted at

Between 1959 and 2014, the average length of time that Americans were expected to live was on the rise. Now, for the third year in a row, it's declining, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"Americans operate under a lot of misconceptions about how superior we are in many facets of our lives and this is not one of them," the study's lead author Steven Woolf told Business Insider. "We may think we have best medical care in world and highest life expectancy ... but that's not the case."

This decline can't be linked to just one ethnicity, gender, or geographic area, either: It originates among an entire age group. People between the ages of 25 and 64 in the US are dying at higher rates, wracked by health problems like opioid addiction, obesity, alcoholic liver disease, and suicide.

Despite having the highest per capita health care spending in the world, Americans are "more likely to die before age 65 than people in other countries," Woolf added. "Their children, too, are less likely to live as long." and that is another topic for another day...

A Shocking Trend

Woolf and his co-author Heidi Schoomaker's new study looked at more than 50 years' worth of data on US life expectancy from the US Mortality Database and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's WONDER database.

Results showed that, in the 1970s, the country experienced a rapid and significant jump in life expectancy. But by the 1990s, that increase started to level off.

In 2011, US life expectancy plateaued, and three years later it started to drop.

"We've reached the point where we're going into a free fall," Woolf said.

Medical advances, particularly in the realms of cancer treatment and heart health, prompted an almost 10-year increase in the average American's lifespan. Between 1959 and 2013, life expectancy rose from 69.9 years to 78.9 years. Now, however, that average has dropped to 78.6 years.

The news isn't good if you compare it to other countries, either. In 1960, Americans had the highest life expectancy of any country in the world. But in the past couple of years, the US has plummeted to the bottom of the list of countries with a similar GDP and high average income, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

In fact, the US is currently ranked in the mid-40s globally in terms of life expectancy, squished between countries like Lebanon, Cuba, and Chile, which have GDPs that fall far short of our own.

That troubling dip, according to Woolf, can be linked to the fact that deaths among Americans ages 25 to 64 are increasing.

'Working-age' Americans are dying

These deaths can't be traced back to a single cause, either. Woolf's research revealed that mortality among members of this age group has increased from 35 different causes. However, drug overdose, alcohol abuse, and suicide appear to be the primary culprits.

This age group experienced a nearly four-fold increase in fatal drug overdoses between 1999 and 2017.

Suicide rates went up by nearly 40% for people between the ages of 25 and 64, and by 56% for people ages 55 to 64 during the same time frame. For Americans between the ages of 25 and 34, the rate of alcohol-related disease deaths spiked almost 160%, as well.

Obesity-related mortality rates among this age group also went up by 114%, and deaths linked to high blood increased by about 80%.

"Working-age Americans are more likely to die in the prime of their lives," Woolf said. Between 2010 and 2017, midlife US adults experienced a 6% total increase in mortality rate.

The largest increases in death rates occurred among people living in New England states (middle-aged New Hampshirites saw a 23.3% uptick; Maine residents, 20.7%; Vermont dwellers, 19.9%) and residents of the Ohio Valley (West Virginians experienced a 23% increase and Ohioans, 21.6%).

Not all parts of the US experienced the same trend, however. Life expectancy between 2010 and 2017 increased for Americans living in Hawaii, California, and parts of the Pacific Northwest. Many medical researchers and scientists are attributing this alarming trend to income disparity and employment volatility. If you found this article interesting please SIGNUP! Also did you know we offer hundreds of professional caliber products with FREE same day shipping in our natural pharmacy? Visit and check out our wonderful products and see our major discounts on the freshest products available anywhere! Next week don't miss a discussion on why more Americans are choosing alternative medicine. See you then and as always, best of health!

Dr. Taryn

Holistic Doctor

Natural Pharmacy

Author's Bio: 

Dr Taryn DeCicco ND, LAc, LDN of Apple A Day Clinic in Arlington Heights, IL has been practicing Naturopathy, Nutrition, and Acupuncture as a holistic doctor, specializing in acne, skin, digestive disorders, and HPV for over 20 years!