Save the American: Windmills and Treadmills

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Save the American: Windmills and Treadmills

Life expectancy in the US has been declining 4 years in a row now, which has caused concerns as the rest of the world is still on the way up. Currently, the average time one can expect to live in America is 78 years and 6 months, about 2 to 4 years behind Western counterparts with similar levels of development. But, like most things in America, there is no straight forward answer to the problem and the statistics don’t speak for all states:

The state of New York, Hawaii and California do have life expectancies you might find in countries with abundant shelter and running water. But, if you live in Mississippi, Alabama or West Virginia, you’re likely to be 6 feet under 1 year earlier than someone in Iran, China or Ecuador. It gets even worse on a county level. You’re more likely to make it past 67 in Rwanda, India and The Philippines than you are in Sioux County (North Dakota), Union County (Florida) and Buffalo County (South Dakota). This is worrying stuff. You might even come to question whether America really is the greatest country in the world – when it loses to countries it has either invaded, sanctioned or insulted.

 

So, why are Americans dying out and can they still be saved? A small part of the problem is that Americans have simply lost the will to live. America, as it turns out, is not the greatest place for all and suicides are on the rise. Keith Humphreys of Stanford has said this is partly because “having easily available lethal means is a big risk factor for suicide”, which shows America’s gun problem will likely sort itself out without too much campaigning.

 

The main reason for the declining life expectancy in the US, however, is the rise in heart disease and cancer. Because Americans think smoking is not cool, it can only be one of two things; obesity and windmills (if you believe The Donald that is). It should, of course, come as no surprise that if you use the same sort of scale used by container ships, your life expectancy won’t exceed that of one either:

While science is still out there on the president’s claim that a windmill’s “noise causes cancer”, the  map is sceptical: 

Statistics also show that being religious means you’re also more likely to die young in the US.  In fact, the least religious regions of the US tend to live the longest. Meaning time is better spent building windmills or finding a treadmill, than bothering god by asking him to bless America every 5 minutes – he doesn’t seem to care. 

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