9/13/02 - Living Longer, Fatter - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

9/13/02 - Living Longer, Fatter

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Americans are living longer, that's according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control.

Average life span has now reached a record high of 76.9 years, but we're also living larger and larger. The study compared statistics from over the last 50 years, and it found there are a lot of reasons why we're living longer, despite the fact that we're heavier than ever.

St. Francis Medical Center hospitalist Dr. Laureen Paraguya says, "Just overall there's been improvements." Exercising is one of the areas the study says we've improved in, more people are adopting healthy lifestyles, like Dale Gilliland. He says, "We're a little more educated nutritionally and people are taking better care of themselves, they find out the benefits of exercise."

But exercise doesn't get all the credit. The study shows in the year 2000 alone, Americans spent 1. 3 trillion dollars on healthcare. Dr. Paraguya says, "Things have changed so much and advances are coming out everyday. It's amazing what we have now we didn't have 10 years ago."

Vaccinations, better pre-natal care, and safer cars are also reasons we're living longer. In 1900, the life expectancy was 47.3 years old, in 1950, it jumped to 68.2, and in 2000, the number hit a record high of 76.9 years.

It's good news now, but the next time the CDC does its life expectancy study in the year 2050 the news might not be as good because of the startling rises in obesity and inactive lifestyles. Dr. Paraguya says, "The news is not as good for diabetics. I think this reflects that obesity is on the rise and this is something to be concerned about." A problem Dr. Paraguya says needs to be addressed for life expectancy rates to continue to rise.

Dr. Paraguya adds the best thing we can do now is educate ourselves on how to get healthy and lead a better lifestyle.

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