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Long Life Doesn't Always Mean a Healthy Life



From VOA Learning English, this is the Health Report.

A new study has found that Americans are generally in good health. But some may be living with chronic disease longer and dying younger. Even without the study, some Americans seem to understand that a long life does not necessarily mean a healthy life.

Christopher Murray from the University of Washington led the study. He says Americans are spending more years of their lives with long-term diseases.Researchers studied the major diseases and injuries that were at least partly to blame for Americans' health problems and early deaths over the past 20 years. They found the leading causes of chronic, or long-lasting, disability include depression, anxiety and back pain. Other leading causes are diabetes and lung diseases that block airflow and make breathing difficult. The researchers identified heart attack, stroke and cancer as the leading causes of early death.

Dr. Murray says too many Americans are dying at an early age because they smoke or eat too many of the wrong foods. He says poor diet is blamed for 680,000 deaths. That is more than the 400,000 deaths a year from tobacco use. Obesity and high blood pressure are other conditions responsible for poor health. Another concern is air pollution. The National Institutes of Health says air pollution has been linked to heart and lung diseases. There was also good news from the study. It showed that Americans are generally enjoying better health longer. That is because of better methods for treating stroke and fighting some cancers. But it also found America is behind other wealthy nations in improving the health of its citizens.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Alex Villarreal.

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