There was some good news in January’s National Center for Health Statistics data brief: People in the U.S. are living slightly longer thanks to fewer deaths from opioid overdoses and other leading causes such as heart disease and cancer. It’s the first increase in life expectancy since 2014.
However, the U.S. still lags behind other industrialized countries, even though we spend more on health care than anyone else. Average life expectancy for someone born in the U.S. in 2018 is now 78.6 years, up 0.1 percent (about one month) since 2017. It is 80.8 years in other OECD nations, which spend an average of 8.8 percent of GDP on health care, compared to 16.9 percent in the U.S. Continue reading
A recent data brief from the National Center for Health Statistics reported a 23 percent increase in the age-adjusted hypertension-related death rate from 2000 to 2013. In that same period, the rate for all other causes of death combined decreased 21 percent. The report, “Hypertension-related Mortality in the United States, 2000–2013” is part of a series from the Centers for Disease Control on myriad health issues, morbidity and mortality.
Such reports, while an interesting starting point for a story, can easily be taken out of context and mislead your audience. That’s why building a stable of reliable health care experts to whom you can show the data and quote in your story is important.
The authors of the NCHS brief defined hypertension-related mortality as “any mention of hypertension on the death certificate or as the underlying cause of death.” Continue reading