Obesity, drinking, drugs & suicide: Why men die early in the US
Why does the US have lower life expectancy than other industrialized nations?
The life expectancy in the US is an outlier compared to other industrialized nations, such as Australia, Iceland, Norway and Japan.
As a result of the grotesquely unhealthy lifestyle that average American citizens are living, American men are living a lot less than their counterparts in other nations - at least eight years. Furthermore, on average, they are also dying five years younger than women in the US.
The culprit? The leading cause of death in the US is heart disease, which comes from a number of factors that all have to do with poor lifestyle: smoking, excessive drinking, poor diet, lack of exercise, stress and obesity, in addition to kidney problems and diabetes that may push the factors to trigger harder.
After heart disease comes cancer as the leading cause of death. Cancer - mainly prostate cancer - accounts for 22.5% of all male deaths in the US. When it comes to strata, the darker the skin, the more disadvantaged: most cases are men with African American or Caribbean ancestry. As if it does not get any worse, these groups systemically have less access to health care, treatment and research, and thus have higher mortality rates. Regular screening for prostate cancer can reduce mortality by 21%.
The leading cause among American men is colorectal cancer, which also sees a number of factors behind it, including a diet with a lot of red and processed meat, excessive drinking, obesity, smoking, and lack of exercise.
Lung and skin cancers come next: With the knowledge that men use tobacco products 2% more than women, and men and less likely to wear sunscreen. Non-Hispanic white men are more than twice as likely to die from skin cancer compared to women of the same age and race.
Furthermore, according to the CDC, unintentional injury is also a leading cause for men under 44. Such causes entail intoxication and poisoning by opioids and alcohol overdose, car accidents, falls and drownings. Men suffer from more accidental deaths as a result of being risk-takers. Men are 10 times more likely than women to sustain accidental injuries at work, due to the reason that men are more likely to work in military, construction, mining and offshore fishing, among other jobs that put lives at risk.
Lastly, suicide is another leading cause of death for men in the US: Suicide among men is 3.7 times higher for men than women. Researchers, however, aren't entirely sure why, but a number of causes could be rationalized. One of them is that men are less likely to open up to mental health professionals which comes as a product of toxic masculinity that shames men for expressing emotions. As a reaction, men are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs, which increases risk of suicide.
Although the US spends a lot on health care compared to other nations, its privatized system prevents millions of Americans from having access to health care, rendering medication and check-ups unaffordable to the working class.