Study: “Deaths of Despair” Rising Among Middle-Aged Whites

Princeton University researchers found so-called "deaths of despair" -- due to drugs, alcohol, suicide combined with unhealthy eating habits -- rose sharply for middle-age white compared to blacks and Hispanics.

Combined with a slowdown in progress against mortality from heart disease and cancer, the two largest killers in middle age, mortality rates of whites with no more than a high school degree grew to be 30 percent higher than blacks by 2015.

“It is discouraging to think that here we are in the United States with the best health care system and research in the world that we're losing people almost to needless causes, and it really is a wakeup call,” sayd Dr. Joe Galati, Medical Director of the Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation at The Methodist Hospital and host of KTRH's “Your Health First.”

“The notion of 'death by despair' with drug use, alcohol and suicide, that really is more of a problem of society rather than your genetic makeup, even though a lot of these problems are genetically driven.”

Dr. Galati says it really comes down to personal decisions.

“You have to take personal stock of what you're doing, how you're leading your life and how much emphasis you put on your own health wellness.”

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