People in California tend to live a little longer than people in many other states. Reporter Ron Winslow, writing in the July 11 Wall Street Journal, informs us the average life expectancy of an American born this week is statistically 78.3 years. However, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Internet site FlowingData, if that person is a Californian, add a couple of years to that number.
People in Washington State, Utah, Colorado, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Hawaii also are likely to live beyond 80, on average.
If you were born in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama or Georgia, your life expectancy would drop to 75, and if you were born in Washington, D.C., it would be 72, the lowest in the nation.
The Japanese live longer than Americans, even longer than Californians. Japanese men live to 79 years old on average, while Japanese women live to be 86 on average.
What is more important, though, is what the Journal’s Winslow calls healthy life expectancy. While Americans on average may be expected to live to 78.3 years, their healthy life expectancy is only 68.3 years, with the final 10 years likely to be spent with a lingering illness or disability. They depend a lot on modern medicine for those extra 10 years.
The Japanese, on the other hand, he points out, have a healthy life expectancy of 73 years.
The Japanese are first in the world for healthy life expectancy, writes Winslow, with the U.S. ranking No. 26.
Winslow quotes experts as saying the American healthy life expectancy could be increased by better diet (less red meat, sugar, salt and fat), more fish, more grains and more vegetables and fruits. These experts also advise against smoking, and caution that one should not go above light to moderate alcohol use, and should drink a lot of tea. Oh, and one other thing — the average Japanese eats about one-third the calories of the average American.
Why can’t it be that the people who eat a lot of chocolate and bacon live the longest? Life isn’t fair.