The USA , the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world , yet 41 other countries have longer life expectancy .
"Something's wrong here when one of the richest countries in the world, the one that spends the most on health care, is not able to keep up with other countries," said Dr. Christopher Murray, head of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
A baby born in the United States in 2004 will live an average of 77.9 years. That life expectancy ranks 42nd, down from 11th two decades earlier , less than Japan or Singapore .
Black Americans have an average life expectancy of 73.3 years, five years shorter than white Americans. Black American males have a life expectancy of 69.8 years , slightly shorter than in Nicaragua and Morocco.
A relatively high percentage of babies born in the U.S. die before their first birthday, compared with other industrialized nations. The U.S. rate was 6.8 deaths for every 1,000 live births. It was 13.7 for Black Americans.Forty countries, including Cuba, Taiwan and most of Europe had lower infant mortality rates than the U.S. in 2004.
Researchers said several factors have contributed to the United States falling behind other industrialized nations. A major one is that 45 million Americans lack health insurance, while Canada and many European countries have universal health care .
More shocking though are the Afican statistics .
The shortest life expectancies were clustered in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region that has been hit hard by an epidemic of HIV and AIDS, as well as famine and civil strife. Swaziland has the shortest, at 34.1 years, followed by Zambia, Angola, Liberia and Zimbabwe.