WFMY: Kids Want to Know

"Why do we live longer now?"


From WFMY News 2

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – This week Kids Want To Know “why do people live so much longer these days?”

Life expectancy sure has changed. Babies born in 1900 had life expectancy of 46 if male. 48 if female. In 1998, the age jumped to 73 for men and 79 for women. And we’ve gained a few years since the 90’s.

The national council on aging credits better living standards, cleaner water and immunizations. Certainly medical advancements have helped. 2 Wants To Know asked Earl Williams of Old Salem to show us how changes in medicine figures into life expectancy:

“Why do people live longer today then what they did a few hundred years ago? Medical treatment in Old Salem two hundred years ago it had to be done different then what it is today. The people would wait a long time before they were seen by the doctor, you didn’t go routinely for checkups you wait until you were so sick after you tried your own home remedies before you were seen by the doctor. But the one people was doing everything he was pulling teeth, performing operations. Epidemics were very sever back then one of the bad epidemics would be Small Pox’s another epidemic that went through was Typhoid. But there are differences today in medical care then what there was two hundred years ago and that the biggest difference in in medical care. That is we have better medicines available today, our doctors are trained better, we have specialist to take care of you,” Williams said.

2 Wants To Know answers a Kids Want To Know question every week. Send in your kid’s question by emailing your cell phone video to

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