American Morning

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December 15th, 2009
12:00 PM ET

New research shows Americans living longer

New research suggests Americans may live a lot longer than the government's projections. Up to eight years longer.

While that's very good news on the surface it does have implications for the economy, our work force, and our health care system. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta joined us on Tuesday's American Morning to break it all down.


Filed under: Dr. Gupta's Mailbag • Health
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Public Health Student MPH

    In response to some of the comments about lifestyle being the biggest difference between countries that have socialized medical care, the point made by mike-sey actually has a lot more to do with the problem than most people realize. Most cases of obesity, high blood pressure, hypertension, and diabetes are not sourced in some extreme genetic predisposition, and almost none are not avoidable, at least as far as projected years of life lost. In general terms, this means that with proper care and attention, many of these conditions could have been prevented. So why is it that in the USA, we have doctors not providing us the knowledge and tests to give the warning signs that we are doing something to cause these conditions to occur in our health? The answer to that is health insurance companies pressures on physicians not to do so. That would then be a pre-existing condition and could terminate our candidacy as a client as well as result in a loss of purchases in the pharmaceutical industry.
    Why then do we have so many things that can cause this level of harm and why are we not educated about them? I grew up in Seattle where health education, smoking, alcohol control, and eating is much healthier and people exercise more than most other northern metropolitan cities. I currently live in Louisiana, arguably the worst for health in the US. New Orleans LA drags the country down quite a bit. High HIV, STI, diabetes, ect incidence is the root of the high prevalence. The incidence is driven by social dynamics, poor and inadequate nutrition, smoking (indoors even), amount of alcohol consumption per capita, and also the access of convenience stores as primary food sources over grocery stores. All this combined with the avoidance of physician advice and poor health education and policy results in bad health care. Putting logical restrictions and access on health insurance nationwide is only part of the necessary steps. We must reform our lifestyles, food outlets, and have our needs met through mainstream media.
    The reality TV shows aren't cutting it.

    March 9, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  2. Matthew

    @ Diane: You left for Australia cause you weren't happy here. Good for you. Stay their cause we don't want your kind here. It's not about the money. It's the idea of a socialist reform that US true blue Americans don't want! As far as I'm concerned to any sheep who honestly believe in a socialist system can leave and leave this country to those who show no fear.

    "The people should never fear their government but, the government should fear it's people!"

    Besides (show of hands) who cares about longevity? The shorter than the life span the better!

    January 26, 2010 at 10:50 pm |
  3. Diane Young

    I used to live in the USA and I now live in a country (Australia) with universal health care. Yes, I pay a little more in taxes but the knowledge that if I were to get sick and have it all paid for by the government far outweighs the extra taxes I have to pay. i also have private health insurance which I pay very little for, this gives me the peace of mind that I don't have to wait even a week if I need an operation that is not urgent. I don't understand why Americans are so afraid of socialised medicine, it can only work for your benefit.

    December 21, 2009 at 1:33 am |
  4. John

    The US average life span still ranks way behind nations with universal health care. Canadians are the nearest to Americans in lifestyle etc. but Canadians live 2.6 years longer than Americans. The US has a third world health care system run by insurance companies, not physicians like nations which have universal health care have. American health reform would give Americans physician-run health care, instead of rationed insurance-run health care that Americans have now.

    December 18, 2009 at 8:02 am |
  5. RICHARD D. DUFFY

    I concur with Mitchell's comments.
    We will pay a high price for obamacare and CNN has AND CONTINUES to back the President's policies from the beginning. Socialism no matter the cost!! Anyone can see that obama has pushed and pushed the socialist agenda based on some arbitrary time schedule and high state of emergency to force Chicage style politics down everyones throat. Good and effective decisions are those made after careful thought and bi partisan discussion not one way politics. Does it not make you wonder how the banks recovered so quickly after stealing the publics billions of dollars under TARP and is able to repay all the money in 6-8 months or so. WAS THERE EVER A "REAL PROBLEM"? I do not think so. I say let capitism run its course. It has worked for 200 years plus and will continue to do so. If a company cannot managea sucessful business, it deserves to fail and smarter management will fill any gap.
    Wake up America. Vote Republican (not a significant improvement) in 2010.

    December 17, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  6. mike-sey

    Sorry, Mitchell , it's 'socialist'. If socalists don't have smoking and obesity problems its probably because of Socalist Public education and a socalist public Health program and socalist tax and other policies. This would include not having TV networks promoting cheesy pizzas as news to the non-socalist public. See you at Dominos, no doubt, or will you have them delivered?

    December 17, 2009 at 8:34 am |
  7. mike-sey

    Given CNN's obsession with the New Domino's Pizza (is this really news?), how long will it be before this longevity trend is reversed?

    December 17, 2009 at 8:22 am |
  8. Mitchell

    CNN I recall the series you did just last month on how long people lived in other countries and what type of health care they had. You definitely inferred that people lived longer in countries with socolized health care. You conviently left out the fact that americans life style contributes greatly to how long the average person in this country lives. We have a very high percentage of people that smokes and a very high obesity problem. Almost all the countries you looked at do not have these problems. You have continued to press for socolized medicine no matter what. However that is in keeping with what seems to be your liberal/socolist view point on almost everything.

    December 15, 2009 at 7:53 pm |