We have so much information about health, it’s hard to get a clear picture of something as basic as what will help me stay alive?
But there are experts working hard to give you this information. They publish reports with titles like: “Actual causes of death in the United States.”
Let’s start with some ancient history. Back in 1990, the major things that made you die faster were: “The most prominent contributors to mortality in the United States in 1990 were tobacco (an estimated 400,000 deaths), diet and activity patterns (300,000), alcohol (100,000), microbial agents (90,000), toxic agents (60,000), firearms (35,000), sexual behavior (30,000), motor vehicles (25,000), and illicit use of drugs (20,000).”
Fast forward a few years, and the major things that made you die have been updated. Now the major things that make you die faster are: “The leading causes of death in 2000 were tobacco (435 000 deaths; 18.1% of total US deaths), poor diet and physical inactivity (365 000 deaths; 15.2%) [corrected], and alcohol consumption (85 000 deaths; 3.5%). Other actual causes of death were microbial agents (75 000), toxic agents (55 000), motor vehicle crashes (43 000), incidents involving firearms (29 000), sexual behaviors (20 000), and illicit use of drugs (17 000).” That’s funny, that second list looks almost exactly like the first one. Only now we have more crashes and less death by sexual behaviors.
If you look around, nothing has changed that much since the last published “actual causes of death.” So the major reasons you die remain the same.