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3 reasons why white, middle-aged Americans are dying

Published: Tuesday, November 03, 2015 @ 11:45 AM
Updated: Tuesday, November 03, 2015 @ 2:43 PM

A startling study released Monday showed that mortality rates for white Americans between the ages of 45 and 54 have increased dramatically in the past few years while longevity rates for other groups have continued to climb.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doesn’t point to conditions such as cancer or heart disease as the cause for the increase, instead it says mental health issues and addictions to drugs and alcohol look to be the determining factors in shortening lifespans.

According  to the study co-authored by husband and wife Princeton economics professors Angus Deaton and Anne Case, those in the age group who are white and have less than a high school education have seen the sharpest decline in longevity.

>>The epidemic of dispair in white, working class Americans has now been revealed 

Older Americans, the study noted, are leading increasingly longer lives as are blacks and Hispanics who are considered middle-aged.

Case and Deaton say their results show a “marked increase” in mortality in the white middle-aged group with an epidemic of suicide as a leading cause. The study also points to cheap and easily available heroin, the abuse of prescription opioids and  the effects of long-term alcohol abuse, as factors contributing to the group's increasing mortality rate.

“Drugs and alcohol, and suicide . . . are clearly the proximate cause,” Deaton, the 2015 Nobel laureate in economics, told The Washington Post.

Deaton and Case  said some 500,000 people would likely be alive today if the mortality rate had not been on the increase.

“Half a million people are dead who should not be dead,” Deaton said. “About 40 times the Ebola stats. You’re getting up there with HIV-AIDS.”

According to The Post story, the pair discovered the increase in the rates as they were researching government statistics on death rates and illnesses. 

“We both were sort of blown off our chairs when looking at that,” Deaton said. 

The study looked  at  the years of 1999-2013.

Christina Aguilera belts a Whitney Houston tribute at American Music Awards

Published: Sunday, November 19, 2017 @ 10:29 PM

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 19:  Christina Aguilera performs onstage during the 2017 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 19, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 19: Christina Aguilera performs onstage during the 2017 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 19, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)(Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Christina Aguilera delivered a tribute to the late Whitney Houston that only a vocalist of her caliber could do.

>> Read more trending news

At Sunday night’s American Music Awards, Aguilera celebrated the 25th anniversary of Houston’s blockbuster movie “The Bodyguard” and its top-selling soundtrack.

Related: Christina Aguilera to pay tribute to Whitney Houston, ‘The Bodyguard’ at AMAs

Beginning her set in a black pantsuit and a singular spotlight, Aguilera sang the a capella opening of “I Will Always Love You,” transitioning to the big note before going into “I Have Nothing,” followed by “Run to You,” a song Houston herself has praised Aguilera for singing.

2017 American Music Awards Red Carpet

Related: Christina Aguilera to pay tribute to Whitney Houston, ‘The Bodyguard’ at AMAs

Assisted by a choir, Aguilera ended her tribute with “I’m Every Woman” recieving a standing ovation.

Watch the full performance below.

Children left in freezing car while mother talked to friends in mall, police say

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 5:39 PM

File photo.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)(Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

After getting calls about mothers leaving their kids in freezing temperatures, police are warning parents not to leave their children in their vehicles.

>> Read more trending news

A mother left her two young children in a car as she spoke with friends for more than 45 minutes, according to WXIN

Indianapolis Metropolitan police officer Stephen Jones found an 11-year-old girl clutching her 2-year-old brother inside a Toyota Corolla around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Castleton Square Mall. The outside temperature was 8 degrees at the time, according to WXIN

The girl told Jones she had the keys to the car but had turned it off. Jones asked her to turn on the car. 

Jones went into the mall and found the 29-year-old mother speaking with a group of her friends in front of a store. She was very apologetic. 

Jones filed a report with the Department of Child Services and warned the woman to never leave her children alone again, according to WISH

Hours earlier, police had also responded to a call that a woman left her son, 4, and daughter, 7, in a car in freezing temperatures for more than an hour, according to WISH.

Georgia mom's post about 5-year-old paying rent sparks viral Facebook conversation

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 4:53 PM

Alex Wong/Getty Images
(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

At the age of 5, most kids are still learning the basics of counting, but one Georgia mom has tasked her 5-year-old with not only counting but learning the art of financial planning.

>> Read more trending news

Essence Evans has received international attention for her recent Facebook post, about requiring her 5-year-old daughter to pay toward the family’s rent, water, electricity, cable and food. Evans, who says she lives in Georgia, said in a Facebook post Jan. 14, that she gives her daughter a $7 allowance each week, so paying rent is a way to teach her some “real world” concepts.

“I explained to her that in the real world most people spend most of their paycheck on bills with little to spend on themselves,” Evans wrote. “So, I make her give me $5 dollars back. $1 for rent $1 for water $1 for electricity $1 for cable and $1 for food.”

Her daughter gets to keep $2 for herself or for saving.

I MAKE MY 5 YEAR OLD PAY RENT. Every week she gets $7 dollars in allowance. But I explained to her that in the real...

Posted by Essence Evans on Sunday, January 14, 2018

The post has since been shared more than 314,000 times, and there are more than 44,000 comments, mainly praising Evans’ efforts to teach her daughter responsibility. 

“I think this is absolutely amazing! It is a great way to teach her how the real world works and to get her a little savings account of her own so she has a good start when she moves out or goes to college or whatever she chooses to do,” Jennifer Barfield wrote in response to the post.

Cathy White Stark agreed, writing that Evans is “a fantastic parent! Kids are clueless how things work and yes,they have this sense of entitlement. ... Good job.”

Some supporters even told personal stories of how similar tactics served them well.

“My father did that with me. I never complained. But when he died. He left me close to $28,000.00 I was shocked,” wrote Jim Koloski.

While the chorus of praise resonates throughout most of social media, there have been some who call her methods a bit much for a 5-year-old.

Some applauded the general idea but critiqued Evans for charging her child for necessities, even if just a small fee.

Evans’ Facebook post and the conversation around it have been featured on “Loose Women,” a television program in the United Kingdom, and several online news sites.

Evans did not immediately return The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s request for comment.

Momentum behind temporary fix to avert shutdown

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 4:43 PM

            House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 18, 2018. President Donald Trump blew up Republican strategies to keep the government open past Friday when on Thursday morning he said a long-term extension of the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program should not be part of a stopgap spending bill pending before the House. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times)
            ERIN SCHAFF
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 18, 2018. President Donald Trump blew up Republican strategies to keep the government open past Friday when on Thursday morning he said a long-term extension of the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program should not be part of a stopgap spending bill pending before the House. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times)(ERIN SCHAFF)

House Republican leaders today were hopeful they could summon enough votes to approve a bill to keep the federal government open for the next four weeks while extending a program that provides health coverage to 220,000 low-income children in Ohio.

With the government scheduled to run out money at midnight Friday because lawmakers have failed to agree on a year–long spending package, the temporary spending bill would give Congress until Feb. 16 to design a budget to last until the end of the 2018 federal spending year in October.

The temporary bill included a six-year extension of the 1997 Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, which provides millions of children with health insurance.

RELATED: Collision likely on child insurance bill

At a news conference on Capitol Hill, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said he had “confidence we’ll pass this because I think members understand, ‘Why on earth would we want a government shutdown?’ ”

Ryan and his top lieutenants tentatively scheduled a floor vote for later today. But once again, Ryan was trying to escape from a familiar vice imposed on him by the House’s most conservative Republicans who often break with party leadership.

Although defense hawks such as Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, have agreed to support the bill because Ryan has promised to include more military spending in a final budget, conservatives such as Rep. Jim Jordan of Urbana and Warren Davidson of Troy want more defense dollars in the temporary spending bill.

The Republican split could cripple Ryan because House Democrats have said they will oppose a temporary spending bill without new legal guarantees for the children of undocumented immigrants, a program known as the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals, or DACA.

RELATED: Area ‘dreamer’ rallies to support DACA

That means Ryan can only lose the support of roughly 22 House Republicans unless some Democrats support the measure.

“It’s not clear whether we have the votes,” Davidson said on MSNBC Thursday, adding that he was leaning against the measure. “I know a large number of folks that are solidly a ‘no.’ ”

He predicted it would not pass with Republican votes and expressed frustration at Democrats’ insistence on a deal for the children of illegal immigrants — known as Dreamers. He said Democrats were choosing “800,000 people whose parents brought them here illegally over funding our defense.”

Turner said the lack of a long-term budget solution “shortchanges our men and women in uniform.” But he said Ryan has “a strong commitment for a two–year funding package for our military that is in the best interest of our military.”

The shutdown showdown highlighted what has become a recurring drama in Washington, confirming once again voters’ fears that the federal government seems to lurch from one budgetary crisis to the next.

RELATED: Five things to know about a government shutdown

Both parties have used the threat of government closures as leverage to win passage of measures that have little or no impact on the budget. Both sides essentially are waiting for the other side to fold, which tends to increase the power of the far right and far left to prevent government from remaining open.

House Democrats expected to vote against the bill include Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles and Joyce Beatty of Columbus. Beatty said while she supports extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program, she said she could not “vote in favor of another temporary funding bill loaded with a ‘wish list’ of Republican partisan priorities that only kicks the can down the road for another four weeks.”

In a floor speech Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D–N.Y., complained that the spending bill “leaves out so many priorities that the American people want and demand,” citing opioid addiction and legal guarantees for the children of undocumented immigrants.

“It doesn’t include an increase in military funding that members from both sides of the aisle would support,” Schumer said. “It’s just another kick of the can down the road because the Republicans in both the Senate and the House and the White House can’t get their act together.”

After a confusing presidential tweet created doubts about whether the White House backed the bill, White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah Thursday said President Donald Trump “supports the continuing resolution introduced in the House.”

“Congress needs to do its job and provide full funding of our troops and military with a two-year budget caps deal.” Shah said. “However, as the deal is negotiated, the President wants to ensure our military and national security are funded. He will not let it be held hostage by Democrats.”

Typically in a partial shutdown, the mail gets delivered, post offices remain open, the Army, Navy and Air Force operates with critical personnel reporting as usual, and Americans receive their Social Security checks. Medicare and Medicaid departments will also continue to function.

Ohio in 2016 had 77,400 federal employees, of which 5,250 were on active duty with the Air Force. Air Force civilian employment was 13,838, almost all at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

In the past, furloughed civilian workers were paid when the government re-opened. In the 2013 shutdown, 50 workers at the Defense Supply Center were furloughed.

Wright-Patterson is the largest single-site employer in Ohio with more than 27,000 employees — the vast majority of whom are civilians. It touts a regional economic impact greater than $4 billion.

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, one of the state’s biggest tourist attractions, would close until a funding deal is reached, a spokesman has said.

Staff Writer Barrie Barber contributed to this report