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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Americans are increasingly dying of heart disease and strokes as they hit middle age — and the trend is happening across the country, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of mortality rates.

Why it matters: It suggests "that the underlying causes of cardiovascular disease are universal and difficult to address," the Journal found.

  • While the South has traditionally seen higher rates of deaths from cardiovascular disease, the spike is occurring in some of the healthiest places in the country — even outdoorsy Colorado.
  • Three metro areas in the state saw their cardiovascular death rates spike 25% from 2010–11 to 2015–16 despite "robust access to exercise and health care."
  • "Like much of America, the region is undergoing changes that foster more stress and sedentary lifestyles."

By the numbers: 18% of American kids and roughly 40% of adults are now obese, according to CDC data released last year.

  • More obese children means there will be more adults with chronic conditions like diabetes — which can’t be cured, only managed — and these diseases increase the risk of further complications, per Axios' Sam Baker.

The bottom line, via Axios' Caitlin Owens: Our health care system incentivizes caring for sick people, not keeping people healthy.

Go deeper: The urban-rural health divide is costing lives

Go deeper

18 mins ago - Health

WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release"

A medical syringe and vial with fake coronavirus vaccine in front of the World Health Organization (WHO) logo. Photo Illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Top scientists at the World Health Organization on Friday called for more detailed information on a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

Why it matters: Oxford and AstraZeneca have said the vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses. AstraZeneca has since acknowledged that the smaller dose received by some participants was the result of an error by a contractor, per the New York Times.

Court rejects Trump campaign's appeal in Pennsylvania case

Photo: Sarah Silbiger for The Washington Post via Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Friday unanimously rejected the Trump campaign's emergency appeal seeking to file a new lawsuit against Pennsylvania's election results, writing in a blistering ruling that the campaign's "claims have no merit."

Why it matters: It's another devastating blow to President Trump's sinking efforts to overturn the results of the election. Pennsylvania, which President-elect Joe Biden won by more than 80,000 votes, certified its results last week and is expected to award 20 electoral votes to Biden on Dec. 12.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Belarus dictator Lukashenko says he'll leave post after new constitution

Photo: Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty

Longtime Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has said he will step down after a new constitution comes into force, according to Belarusian state media.

Why it matters: Lukashenko has faced three months of protests following a rigged election in August. He has promised to reform the constitution to reduce the near-absolute powers of the president, but has insisted that his strong hand is needed to see that process through.

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