For the first time ever, American life expectancy has gone down. Okay, so it only dropped by a couple months, but it is still a startling indicator of the fall of our once life-enhancing civilization. It is interesting to point out that Americans share food tastes, much media, and a large land mass with some Canadian cousins whose life expectancy is not only a few years higher, but continues to rise. Before you all jump to the conclusion that access to free public healthcare is the only factor, there are plenty of other ways that Canadian culture keeps growing healthy people.
Let’s start with obesity. True, in terms of body weight, Canadians are more likely to resemble the population of America’s leanest state, Colorado, than America’s fattest state, Mississippi. It’s not news that obesity leads to heart disease, cancer, and stroke, the three leading causes of deaths. And Canadians have a great running start from birth with lower infant and toddler mortality rates linked to access to healthcare and well paid one-year maternity leaves that promote breastfeeding.