Los Angeles Times – Trifecta of opioids, alcohol and suicide are blamed for the drop in U.S. life expectancy

An epidemic of despair is disproportionately claiming the lives of rural white Americans in the prime of adulthood. And for a second year in a row, their deaths by drugs, drink and self-destruction have caused life expectancy in the United States to fall.

Governing – Spending deal ends uncertainty for major health programs

After more than four months, Congress passed a spending deal on Friday morning that provides long-term funding for several major health programs. It may all be at a cost, however, to a significant funding source for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Conversation – 3 ways the US should prepare for the next flu pandemic

The flu is wreaking havoc globally this year. Influenza infections are on the rise, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicting that this year’s strain will cause the highest rate of hospitalizations and deaths in a decade.

The New York Times – In sweeping war on obesity, Chile slays tony the tiger

The Chilean government, facing skyrocketing rates of obesity, is waging war on unhealthy foods with a phalanx of marketing restrictions, mandatory packaging redesigns and labeling rules aimed at transforming the eating habits of 18 million people.

U.S. News and World Report – A cold night on a west coast street

From as far south as San Diego to Bellingham, Washington, in the north of the Pacific Coast, cities are facing the same issue with rising levels of homelessness, causing a mix of government and private agencies to mobilize into action.