In 1900, the average American's life expectancy was 49.2 years. Americans got lots of exercise throughmanual labor
. They ate organic fruit and vegetables because synthetic fertilizers and pesticides hadn't been invented yet. Unhealthy fast foods like hamburgers hadn't been invented yet either.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Why are Americans living longer?
1. People just don't maim themselves like they used to. From a safety point of view, our increasingly sedentary lifestyle is actually a whole lot healthier than backbreaking farmwork or operating industrial machinery.
2. Better living through chemistry. Chemical preservatives not only keep foods fresher longer, they seem to be adding years to our lives.
3. An obesity epidemic beats rampant malnutrition. The lowered costs of mass-produced foods have put triple decker Whataburgers with bacon, cheese and jalape�os within the reach of the average man. And as a result--he's got something to live for! -- Robb Walsh