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Study led by VCU finds that life expectancy among working-age Americans is falling

Life Expectancy and Mortality Rates in the United States, 1959-2017

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recently published a study by Steve Woolf, MD, MPH. The report, “Life Expectancy and Mortality Rates in the United States, 1959-2017,” is one of the most comprehensive 50-state analyses of U.S. mortality. Certain regions, such as the industrial Midwest and Appalachia, are being particularly hard hit by this trend. “Working-age Americans are more likely to die in the prime of their lives,” Woolf said. “For employers, this means that their workforce is dying prematurely, impacting the U.S. economy. More importantly, this trend means that children are losing their parents and our children are destined to live shorter lives than us.”

Read the full VCU News article.

On December 3, Dr. Woolf was interviewed on NPR's Morning Edition. Listen to his conversation with David Greene.

Back in 2013, Dr. Woolf and Laudan Aron talked about the findings and of a joint National Research Council and Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) report on the reasons why Americans have shorter life expectancies and are in poorer health than citizens in their peers in 16 other high income democracries.  Watch the discussion on C-SPAN.

Dr. Woolf, H’91, is a professor in the VCU Department of Family Medicine and Population Health and is the Director Emeritus of the VCU Center on Society and Health.

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