- Lax gun security and poor healthcare contribute to low American ranking
- Life expectancy for men ranked the lowest with only 75.6 years and American women came in at second lowest with 80.7 years
- Report comes from the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine
Unexpected: Gun violence and obesity are two of the top factors that cause America to have a lower life expectancy than other wealthy nations
The United States has far more violent deaths than any other wealthy nation in part because there are so many residents who own guns and store them in unlocked places in their homes.
The lax gun rules are a major contributor to the low life expectancy rate that Americans have compared to their global counterparts.
A new report reveals that of the 17 wealthiest countries, American males have the lowest life expectancy of 75.6 years and their female counterparts are the second lowest in the rankings coming in at 80.7 years.
The blame placed on guns comes just weeks after the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and as politicians make calls for stricter gun controls.
The United States has about six violent deaths per 100,000 residents and none of the 16 other countries included in the review came anywhere close to that ratio.
Finland was closest to the U.S. ranking with slightly more than two violent deaths per 100,000 residents.
‘With lives and dollars at stake, the United States cannot afford to ignore this problem,’ said the report from the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine.
The researchers said there is little evidence that violent acts occur more frequently in the United States than elsewhere. It’s the lethality of those attacks that stands out.
‘One behavior that probably explains the excess lethality of violence and unintentional injuries in the United States is the widespread possession of firearms and the common practice of storing them (often unlocked) at home. The statistics are dramatic,’ the report said.
For example, the United States has the highest rate of firearm ownership among peer countries — 89 civilian-owned firearms for every 100 Americans, and the U.S. is home to about 35 to 50 per cent of the world’s civilian-owned firearms, the report noted.
Congress is taking a renewed look at gun legislation, but the researchers said in a conference call they were just as concerned about factors that have nothing to do with guns, such as the high prevalence of illness among teenagers and young adults.