Alert
Close

Help hungry seniors. Deliver help and hope before Thanksgiving. Donate

HIGHLIGHTS

Open

Myth Buster: Do Americans Have the Longest Life Expectancy?

MYTH:  Americans live longer than any other nationality.

FACTS:  It’s true that life expectancy in the United States rose dramatically during the last century—from 51.1 years to 78.2 years, according to the United Nations Population Division.

But that doesn’t even crack the world’s top 35. Japan, with a life expectancy of 82.6 years, is number one, while such diverse countries as Malta (19), Guadeloupe (26), Cyprus (27) and Chile (34) outrank the United States (37).

Blame it on obesity, many experts say. A full third of Americans are now obese, and another third overweight, with the steepest increases in average weight occurring among children and minorities. Some experts say American life expectancy will soon decline.

“It now appears certain,” says public health expert Jay Olshansky of the University of Illinois at Chicago, “that unless we find a way to intervene, today’s younger generation could live a shorter and less healthy life than their parents’ generation for the first time in the modern era.”

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Membership Discount Benefit Pet Plan Dog

Members save 10% or more on Petplan pet insurance premiums.

Senior couple working on laptop. Medicare open enrollment. (David Jakle/Corbis)

Medicare Open Enrollment Period Ends Dec. 7 ─ AARP® Medicare Plans from UnitedHealthcare.

Grandson (8-9) whispering to grandfather, close-up

Members can save 20% on hearing aids with the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Being Social

Featured
Groups

Fat to Fit

Get tips, recipes and advice for reaching your personal weight loss goal! Join

Medicare & Insurance

Share health coverage information and experiences common to being age 50+. Join

Health Nuts

Share heart-smart recipes, fitness tips and stress relievers. Join