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Life expectancy

Study Shows Life Expectancy Rates Are Falling in Poor U.S. Counties

Wednesday, June 11, 2008 by: Jo Hartley
Tags: life expectancy, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Many areas of the United States now enjoy an all-time, unprecedented high for life expectancy. Unfortunately, many poor counties, especially among the female population, are now beginning to see a decline in life expectancy.

Smoking, obesity and high blood pressure are reducing the life expectancy of women in specific U.S. regions according to a team at Harvard School of Public Health. The majority of the counties in these regions are in the Deep South, along the Mississippi River, and in the Appalachian region extending from the southern portion of the Midwest and into Texas. The counties with the worst life expectancies also had lower levels of educational achievement.

The death rates in all counties of the United States from 1961 to 1999 were utilized in the study.

Female mortality rates have increased in a large number of counties. This is primarily because of chronic diseases related to smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure. The rise in these mortalities was caused by an increase in cancers, diabetes, emphysema, and a reduction in the rate of decline of cardiovascular diseases (meaning cardiovascular diseases are on the rise again for this segment of the population). Other significant influences found in the study were HIV/AIDS and homicide among men.
There has been an ever expanding disparity in health in the U.S. population for the last twenty years. The CDC also noted that U.S. whites live longer than blacks and women longer than men. There are, however, many exceptions to this.

Race appears not to be an issue in the decline revealed by this study. The worst-faring U.S. counties did have high black populations. The study showed, however, that whites living in these poorer counties were worse off than whites living elsewhere.

Overall, the U.S. life expectancy has increased primarily because of fewer deaths from heart disease and stroke. Heart disease is ranked the Number 1 cause of death. Last September, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that United States life expectancy was at 78. This is an increase from 75.8 years in 1995 and 69.6 years in 1955. The U.S. ranks approximately #42 in the world in life expectancy.

Life expectancy decline is something that is typically considered a sign that the health and social systems are failing. Africa and Eastern Europe are prime examples of where this has been an ongoing situation. Now that the same appears to be happening to a significant number of Americans, we need to take this as an indication that our health system needs a serious look and likely significant reorganization. Twenty years of decline for one out of five American women is unprecedented here. A large part of the population appears to be left behind.

Study: (http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?r...)

About the author

Jo Hartley
Wife, Mother of 8, and Grandmother of 2
Jo is a 41 year old home educator who has always gravitated toward a natural approach to life. She enjoys learning as much as possible about just about anything!
http://loftymatters.com - Current Events
http://winemaiden.com - Simply Abundant Living

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