The premature death measure reflects the number years of potential life lost, before age 75, per 100,000 U.S. residents.
That measure increased to 7,214 per 100,000 U.S. residents in the foundation’s 2017 annual U.S. health rankings report.
The 2017 premature death rate measure has increased from 7,054 in 2016, and from 6,997 in 2015.
The latest figure is the highest the UnitedHealth foundation analysts have recorded since 2012.
The analysts used data from government surveys and other sources to create the report.
The “2017 figures” for the public health measures reflect the latest available survey results. In many cases, the latest numbers are several years old. The premature death rate numbers, for example, come from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from 2015.
UnitedHealth foundation analysts speculated in 2015 and 2016, when the U.S. death premature rate also rose, that the increase might be mostly due to the opioid epidemic.
The overall U.S. drug death rate has been climbing rapidly most years since at least 2007.