Substance Abuse, Suicide Only Partly to Blame for Middle-Aged Whites’ Higher-Than-Expected Mortality

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<p>A lack of progress since 1999 against common illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory disease was largely responsible for higher-than-expected death rates for middle-aged white adults in 2014, a new Commonwealth Fund study finds.</p><p>While substance abuse and suicide rates increased during the same period, they did not increase enough to explain why death rates for this group have deviated from their historical decline. </p>
<p>The study, by The Commonwealth Fund’s David Squires and David Blumenthal, M.D., also looked at whites’ higher-than-expected death rates on a state-by-state basis. Trends in the South are particularly worrisome: in West Virginia, for example, whites between ages 45 and 54 are dying at the highest rates seen since 1980. </p> Read the study