After years of decline, mortality rates among middle-aged Americans throughout the United States have begun to increase. Additionally, in some parts of the country, life expectancy is falling.
What are the factors contributing to this rise in death rates? A recent article in the Denver Post highlighted the findings of a new study that sheds some light on this important issue.
Obesity a major contributor to rising death rates
Ryan Masters, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Colorado’s Institute of Behavioral Science and the lead author of this study, concluded that there are two main drivers of this trend in rising death rates: drug overdoses and obesity.
Masters and his research team identified the opioid epidemic as the bigger problem of these two drivers. According to the study, drug-related deaths of middle-aged white men have increased dramatically since 1980.
Obesity was also identified as a main factor in mortality. “We are just starting to see the real health consequences of the obesity epidemic,” Masters wrote. The study found that decades-long progress in fighting heart disease, diabetes and other metabolic diseases has slowed, contributing to the rising death rates.
Dr. Dirk’s opinion
Dr. Dirk agrees with the study’s conclusion that obesity is killing a lot of people. He also believes that, while the drug epidemic is dramatic, obesity affects far more people. There are many more obese people in the US than drug users, and more people die as a result of obesity because of the wide array of health issues it leads to, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.
Dr. Dirk believes the drug epidemic is important and must be addressed. However, he feels that obesity is a more pressing issue with a simpler solution. It is high time to make being healthy financially and physically possible for everyone.