Obesity in the U.S.: American Life Expectancy Falling Dramatically

As other developed nations see their populations grow older, Americans are bucking the trend and dying earlier.

Though we're supposedly the greatest nation the world, one place America definitely isn't the best is life expectancy, according to a new report from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (PDF). While even our next-door neighbors in Canada are living longer, the new study, which uses information from between 2000 and 2007, says more than 80 percent of American counties "fell in standing against the average of the 10 nations with the best life expectancies in the world."

Things are especially bad for women and blacks. Both groups have seen their life expectancies shift drastically downward relative to other countries. There are now five counties in Mississippi in which women are expected to live less than 74.5 years, which puts them behind women in Honduras and El Salvador. For context, the Honduran GDP ($14 billion) is less than one percent of the American GDP ($14 trillion).

Black men have lower life expectancies than white women and men in every American county, with some black men expected to live just 59.4 years. That's shorter than even Brazil and Latvia.

Though some might be tempted to ascribe these problems to diversity or America's population boom, researchers say people are dying early for the same reasons they've always been dying early: "Obesity, tobacco use, and other preventable risk factors."

Go take a walk, America.