SHS Claw

The Current Youth and Their Future Longevity

Sofia Husainy, Featured Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Life Longevity and Teenagers: What can you do to live longer?

Author’s Note: For my senior project I decided to research the subject of life longevity across the United States and what contributes most to living a longer life. Over the past few months I have researched a topic that has yet to make its big break and has only begun its beginning stages of in depth research. Throughout this article I wanted to bring focus to why teenagers and the youth should care about where their life expectancies are headed. It is predicted that the life expectancy rate is to increase in the next twenty years but is still on the decline in comparison to other countries like us around the world. Life expectancy is based on lifestyle, how one lives and how one dies. The youth can make decisions now that will critically impact their futures and in all the life longevities. In today’s age too many young adults are under enormous amounts of stress and increasing the number of children with depressive disorders and the number of suicidal deaths. Each death counted, young or old, impacts the countries life expectancy rate and our generation’s life expectancy rate. Today we can set life goals that can lead to a better and longer life.

We as teenagers are always thinking about the future. What college am I going to go to? What extracurriculars are going to help my resume look better? Everything we do now is for our future selves, but we only think in terms of successfulness not the length of our lives and what creates a quality life. It is predicted that in the near future the life expectancy of Americans is going to decline. According to the CDC 2016 annual report, it was found that the United States life expectancy dropped for the first time in 20 years. Why has this occurred and how does this relate to the youth one might ask? The youth is the future and we are the ones who can change it.

Life Expectancy Predictions in the United States and the World

The United States does not have the reputation of producing some of the oldest people in the world. During a Lancet Study, one of the world’s leading general medical journals, across 35 countries the life expectancy is predicted to increase. Currently the average life expectancy of an American is 78.8 years. By 2030 the life expectancy for women will be 81 years and for men it will be 79 years, which is above the current combined average[SH1] . The United States may be on the track for improvement, but we will be far behind the rest of the world. Life longevity has become one of the most scientific topics of our time. It is most people’s life goal to extend their lives to its fullest potential, but the question is how do we do it, how do we stretch our life expectancies? Science is an ever-changing subject and so is the topic of life longevity. Over the past few months I have researched and gathered information to answer the main question; What contributes most to living longer in the United States? I have come to a very simple answer. There is no one thing that contributes most to extending one’s life expectancy but a multitude of different aspects, big and small, that factor into a person’s life expectancy. To break it down in simpler terms, there are three main aspects that contribute to life longevity; demographics, biological makeup, and psyche.

Within these three aspects there are a plethora of elements that factor into a human’s lifespan including gender, location, income, diet, genetics, and happiness just to name a few. As this article progresses each section will give an insight about how each element effects life expectancy.

Region

There is no specific region of the United States that has a high life expectancy but based on World Atlas there is a common trend that the northeastern region of the United States has higher life expectancy rates. This region includes all of the New England states, and extends  across to Minnesota. However, some regions of California also show higher life expectancies. Minnesota has the second highest life expectancy rate of an average 80.9 years. The state with the highest life expectancy is Hawaii with an average lifespan of 81.3 years. Hawaii’s comparatively higher life expectancy has been attributed to its relaxed lifestyle. It is a mostly stress-free state with the second lowest obesity rate in the country of 22.1% and the 7th lowest poverty rate of 11.4%. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Mississippi has the lowest life expectancy of 74.91 years. They have the third highest obesity rate at 35.5%, the highest poverty rate at more than 20%, and poor educational system and low income across the state. The northeastern region is generally a more affluent area of the country with a denser population and a lower obesity rate. Education is also excellent in the northeast compared to other southern states.

Specifically speaking in terms of cities, according to a New York Times article titled CITY ROOM; Life Expectancy for Babies Climbs to Record Level in City published in 2011, within the past 7 years the life expectancy of New York City, New York has reached 80.6 years, surpassing the national average rate. This outcome of high life expectancy rates in the city is thought to be due to the city’s public health improvement efforts with campaigns focused on the reduction of smoking, obesity, and the consumption of salt. New York had made the effort to change the social environment and advocate for a healthier living place. That is what we are looking for that is what we should strive for. To live a long and healthy life, the type of enviornment you choose to be in can make all the difference. 

Income

Income is one of the most influential factors in life longevity. Income affects everything, even life longevity. It can be said that in most cases, people with high income tend to live longer. The more money a person has the more opportunity, ability, and accessibility this person has to attain health insurance, better healthcare, dental insurance, etc. Having access to helth care provides the tools to prevent diseases such as vaccines and prescription medications to fight off colds and othere bacterial illnesses. They have the money to attend higher education, buy healthier food, live in a cleaner house. As part of the youth, we are in control of what kind of life we can pursue in the future, what kind of jobs we will have, what careers we will create and in turn how much money we will make. Without money we cannot live the quality of lives we want to live.

Gender

Many people wonder, does gender affect how long I will live? Well yes it does. It is a known fact that women live longer than men do in almost every country (sorry guys). In most countries there is a 5 to 10 year difference between the life expectancies of men and women. In the United States the average life expectancy from the year 2015 for women is 81.2 years and for men it is 76.3 years. That is roughly a five year age gap. From a Time magazine article written by Laura Blue, Tom Perls, founder of the New England Centenarian Study at Boston University, explained that men in their late teens and 20s go through what is called the “testosterone storm”. During this age range the hormones levels of men can be quite high and changeable which can induce dangerous behavior such as not wearing seatbelts, drinking too much alcohol, being too aggressive with weapons, and more. These behaviors and other are what lead to a higher death rate in men. For women, especially women in their late teens to 20s naturally produce less iron lack of iron positively affecting their aging cells. Another fact: women tend to get heart disease much later than men, and heart disease is the United States current leading cause of death followed by cancer and chronic lower respiratory diseases. The body we inherent certainly appears to impact longevity, but equally important can be the lifestyle choices we make.  

Diet