Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Projecting Life Expectancy

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Projecting Life Expectancy

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

PROJECTING LIFE EXPECTANCY is more than an academic exercise. Many of these predictions presuppose that life expectancy for Americans will continue to rise, as it has since the 1930's, spurred by medical progress and behavioral shifts toward healthier lifestyles. S. Jay Olshansky, Ph.D., from the University of Illinois in Chicago, indicated that such forecasts are a simple but unrealistic extrapolation of past trends in life expectancy into the future. Future medical advances will benefit older people especially, but will boost life expectancy only incrementally.

The incidence of obesity--which researchers have linked to an elevated risk of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, cancer--rose by approximately 50 percent in the United States in the 1980's and 1990's. Two-thirds of all American adults are now classified as overweight or obese, as are 20 percent to 30 percent of all children under 15 years of age. …

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