News outlets cover a sharp drop in U.S. life expectancy during 2020, with a near two-year fall to around 77 years — and the pandemic is blamed. Meanwhile, a separate study links longer lifespans without experiencing Alzheimer’s for both men and women to living a healthier life.
Reuters: U.S. Life Expectancy Fell By 2 Yrs In 2020, Sharpest Drop Among High-Income Peers
Life expectancy in the United States fell by nearly two years in 2020 to about 77 years amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the sharpest drop compared to 21 other high-income countries, according to a global study. Americans on average are now expected to live for 76.99 years from 78.86 years in 2019, according to the study, which looked at national death and population counts in 2019 and 2020 to calculate the mortality rate ratio. (Roy, 4/13)
CIDRAP: Pandemic Cut US Life Span Almost 2 Years, More Than Any Peer Nation
Life expectancy in the United States declined 1.87 years from 2019 to after the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, more than any of 21 other high-income countries—with greater losses in Hispanic and Black populations, according to a modeling study published today in JAMA Network Open. Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University estimated life expectancy in the United States and 21 peer countries using a simulation of life tables based on national death and population data in 2019 and 2020. Life expectancy reflects how long a group of people can expect to live were they to experience at each age the age-specific mortality rates of that year, the study authors noted. (Van Beusekom, 4/13)
The mortality rate for Latinos in Los Angeles has worsened —
Los Angeles Times: Mortality Rate For L.A. Latinos Surpasses White Residents’
For years, public health experts have observed how Latinos have overall better mortality rates than white residents, despite being more likely to have lower incomes, chronic health issues and decreased access to healthcare. Now, the historic COVID-19 pandemic has upended the so-called Latino paradox in Los Angeles County. For the first time in the last decade, the mortality rate for Latinos in Los Angeles County became worse than that of white residents, starting in 2020 — the first year of the pandemic — and worsening the next year. (Campa, Lin II and Alpert Reyes, 4/13)
Encouraging news about life expectancy and life quality for those with Alzheimer’s —
MedicalXPress: A Healthy Lifestyle Is Associated With More Years Without Alzheimer’s
A U.S. study published by The BMJ today suggests that a healthy lifestyle is associated with a longer life expectancy among both men and women, and they live a larger proportion of their remaining years without Alzheimer’s disease. The findings show that a healthy lifestyle is associated with longer life expectancies, but crucially the extra years did not mean extra years lived with Alzheimer’s. (4/13)
MedpageToday: Longevity Without Alzheimer’s Tied To Lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle was tied to a longer life but the extra years did not mean more time living with Alzheimer’s dementia, a prospective study showed. People who had four or five healthy lifestyle factors — spanning diet, cognitive activity, physical exercise, smoking, and alcohol patterns — at age 65 lived longer than their counterparts with zero or one healthy factors, according to Klodian Dhana, MD, PhD, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and colleagues. Women added 3.1 years of life, while men added 5.7 years. (George, 4/13)
CNN: What Music Reveals About Our Minds
There has long been a beneficial association between music and patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Repeatedly listening to music that is personally meaningful has been found to improve the brain’s adaptability in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment. Listening to music with a special meaning stimulated neural pathways in the brain that helped them maintain higher levels of functioning, according to Michael Thaut, who was senior author of a study conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto. It was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease in November. (Strictland, 4/7)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.