The U.S. is losing more than a million young and working-age adults compared to other high-income countries, which researchers said is “unprecedented in modern times.”
The Boston University School of Public Health said about 1.1 million deaths in 2021 could have been avoided if the U.S. had a mortality rate that is similar to other wealthy nations.
“The number of Missing Americans in recent years is unprecedented in modern times,” Dr. Jacob Bor, the lead author of the study, said.
Missing Americans are excess deaths in the country. In 2021, for example, about 50 percent of Missing Americans died before reaching 65. Indeed, the life expectancy in the U.S. fell for the second year in a row in 2022—to 76.
“The U.S. is experiencing a crisis of early death that is unique among wealthy nations,” he said, according to WorldHealth.net. The report noted that the COVID-19 outbreak impacted the number of excess deaths in recent years, but the amount has been increasing over the past four decades.
“By using an international benchmark, we show that Americans of all races and ethnicities are adversely affected by the US policy environment, which places a low priority on public health and social protections, particularly for low-income people,” Bor said.
TRENDPOST: Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, a senior author of the study and distinguished professor at the School of Urban Public Health at Hunter College, City University of New York, said the U.S. “wastes hundreds of billions each year on health insurers’ profits and paperwork, while tens of millions can’t afford medical care, healthy food, or a decent place to live.”
“Americans die younger than their counterparts elsewhere because when corporate profits conflict with health, our politicians side with the corporations,” she said.
The Trends Journal has reported extensively on the public health crisis in the U.S. that is based largely on the obesity epidemic in the country. (See “CANCER RATES SOARING AMONG THE YOUNG, OBESITY IS THE 800-POUND GORILLA IN THE ROOM” 11 Jul 2023, “OPERATION WARP SPEED: OBESITY ADDITION” 27 Jun 2023, and “BLIMPITIS: AMERICANS ARE STRESSED OUT AND GETTING FATTER” 11 Jul 2023.)
Bor said the COVID-19 outbreak “brought new attention to public health but the horrible handling of the outbreak by the government has “undermined” the trust in the government and its health policies.
“This could be the most harmful long-term impact of the pandemic because expansion of public policy to support health is exactly how our peer countries have attained higher life expectancy and better health outcomes,” he said.