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Understanding the Impact of Lifestyle Choices on Life Expectancy

Good news – We are all living longer.  Not so good news – while the increase in longevity is improving, Americans are ranked 27th among 34 countries considered America’s economic peers. We are also ranked 27th in high body mass index, which is an indicator of obesity, and 29th on blood sugar.  How can this be?

We spend more on health care than any other country. Yet there is an increasing number of Americans who need chronic care due to bad food choices, smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, and alcohol abuse.

As an elder law attorney, this trend suggests that I will have more clients in crisis dealing with how to access and pay for long term care services in the years to come. I do not delight in sitting with families in a crisis, especially when perhaps the crisis could have been avoided.

So, here is my beef (literally) – Why are we served portions that can feed two or more adults when we eat out at a restaurant or diner? Some of us were brought up on the “eat all your food” so we consume what is on our plate.

Is it possible to change our habits? The answer is yes, but it will be a very difficult task if we continue on this path as a society.  Meanwhile, I will reserve comment for another day on the bad food choices.

For more details on the “The State of U.S. Health 1990-2010”, go to the recent Journal of the American Medical Association.

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