Why American men don’t live as long as men in comparable countries

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KANSAS CITY, Mo -- The average American man can expect to live 76 years. That's two years less than men in other high-income countries. But why?
New research finds injury deaths from car crashes, drugs and guns account for more than a year of American men's shorter life expectancy.

In February of 1996, Kenny Moore had just left a World of Wheels show downtown when he was shot to death in his car. Kenny was 25. He would be 45 today.

"I think he would have definitely owned his own business and he would have definitely owned cars and been still at the car show this year," said Nae-na Oliver, his girlfriend and mother of two of his children.

Oliver thinks about the years and relationships that were lost in a second.

"And my daughter saying to me, 'My son doesn't have a grandpa'," said Oliver.

Government researchers wondered how much deaths from gun injuries, car crashes and drugs contribute to the shorter life expectancy of American men compared to men in a dozen comparable countries. Their study found those injury deaths account for more than a year of the difference.

"It shows a lot of carelessness," said Oliver.

Gun deaths alone accounted for more than five months of the gap in life expectancy. Rashid Junaid is Violence Prevention Manager with Aim4Peace, a Kansas City Health Department program.

"Potential is being killed," said Junaid.

Aim4Peace views gun violence as a preventable, curable disease.

"We're doing tabletop mediations, we're doing diplomatic situations where we're helping people resolve conflicts, and also we're educating. We have life skills classes, parenting classes," said Junaid.

The hope is that changing minds can keep some American men alive longer.