geography, life expectancy

Where you live can make a huge difference in your life expectancy. Americans are living longer overall, but a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine shows that in some parts of the country life expectancy is dropping.

Significant Geographical Differences:

A county-by-county analysis of mortality shows that people in some places live an average of 20 years less than those in more fortunate areas. The disparities have increased since 1980.

What Explains the Differences?

Much of the difference might be attributed to poverty. This leads to poor diet, fewer opportunities for exercise and lack of access to health care. Certain other countries such as Australia have done far more to provide preventive health care to a large portion of the population and to support people in changing unhealthy behaviors such as smoking or inactivity.

Life expectancy has dropped sharply in Kentucky and is low in central Appalachia, the Mississippi Delta and the Dakotas. Places where life expectancy has increased include the District of Columbia, Loudoun County, Virgina, Manhattan, Brooklyn, San Francisco and parts of Alaska.

Dwyer-Lindgren et al, JAMA Internal Medicine, online May 8, 2017

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  1. Gussie

    Access to In Universal Health Care is very likely to level the longevity disparities significantly in the US.

  2. sue

    Follow the money – it’s always about your income, especially with the moron now in office.

  3. Grace

    Sonething as simple as having clean/safe neighborhoods (safe from crime and loose dogs) with sidewalks might also explain some of the difference.

  4. Linda

    As a retired home health nurse I feel that much of the life expectancy is due to smoking. I lived and worked in Loudoun county Va, West Virginia, and currently live in the foothills of Appalachia and found many people exercise and do not smoke in Loudoun County, but far many more who live in WV and the central Appalachia areas smoke.

  5. Mary Jane

    Poverty is most assuredly a factor in life expectancy, and I can’t help but wonder about the relationship between life expectancy and heavy use of pesticides.

  6. mary m.

    I have never continued any med that I felt was harming my body. either slowly wean off of it or stop abruptly. a physician will stop a med on the spot and perhaps add another in its place. there may be some meds that you must wean off of; that may be the case.

    I’ve always thought they say not to stop so you have to go back to your doc for the answer; the one who ”who knows all”……

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