High mortality rate for Americans under 50

America may be one of the richest countries in the world, but that doesn't mean Americans live the longest. In fact, according to a new study published in the journal Health Affairs,  the country's life expectancy lags significantly behind other high-income countries. The reason? The U.S. has an unusually high mortality rate among people under 50 years old.

According to the study, most of these deaths were due not to communicable diseases--which is often the cause of lower life expectancy--but to situations such as pregnancy complications, birth trauma, homicides, unintentional injuries and drug overdoses.

The majority of drug overdose deaths were a result of prescription drug use.

The lead researcher, Jessica Ho of the University of Pennsylvania, said that these deaths expose a life expectancy shortfall that other countries do not seem to share, and that has largely gone unnoticed.

NEXT: Diabetes cost U.S. $245 billion last year

Sourced from: ScienceDaily, U.S. Lifespans Lags Other High-Income Countries, Tied to Mortality Rates Under Age 50