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New report shows life expectancy falling for women in the United States

LatinaLista — A new report about life expectancies of Americans reveals a deeply disturbing picture, especially for women.

Women are now, overall, worse off than men in the number of years they can expect to live and for those who live in North Texas, the Deep South and Appalachia, the prospect of living to a ripe old age is a thing of the past.
life expectancy.jpgThe new study, Falling behind: life expectancy in US counties from 2000 to 2007 in an international context, published this month in the journal Population Health Metrics, found that the US has “extremely” large racial and geographic disparities when it comes to how long certain people will live.

Red represents zones of decline in the life expectancy of women

Across US counties, life expectancy in 2007 ranged from 65.9 to 81.1 years for men and 73.5 to 86.0 years for women. When compared against a time series of life expectancy in the 10 nations with the lowest mortality, US counties range from being 15 calendar years ahead to over 50 calendar years behind for men and 16 calendar years ahead to over 50 calendar years behind for women.

County life expectancy for black men ranges from 59.4 to 77.2 years, with counties ranging from seven to over 50 calendar years behind the international frontier; for black women, the range is 69.6 to 82.6 years, with counties ranging from eight to over 50 calendar years behind.

Between 2000 and 2007, 80% (men) and 91% (women) of American counties fell in standing against this international life expectancy standard.

While the news isn’t good, it’s not a prediction set in stone. The report’s authors contend that most of what is killing off people early are preventable diseases, like obesity and smoking. Also, how often they visit their doctor factors into the life equation as well. In the same report, the authors found counties in the US where people were defying the generalizations.

For example:

Women live the longest in Collier, FL, at 86 years on average, better than France, Switzerland, and Spain. Men live the longest in Fairfax County, VA, at 81.1 years, which is higher than life expectancies in Japan and Australia. Women are also living long lives in Teton, Wyoming; San Mateo and Marin, California; and Montgomery, Maryland. For men, long life spans also can be found in Marin, California; Montgomery, Maryland; Santa Clara, California; and Douglas, Colorado.

The bottom line is it’s all about people taking care of their health.

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