Women in Poorer U.S. Counties Are Dying Younger

April 23, 2008 02:28 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Life expectancies are shorter in regions such as Appalachia, the Mississippi river states and parts of Texas, and women are especially affected.

30-Second Summary

A new report from the Harvard School of Public Health finds that smoking, high blood pressure and obesity are the leading causes of death in America’s poorest counties.

The research highlights a growing trend in the country. Many poor people, particularly, minorities, have inadequate access to medical care. As a result, the death rates in those populations are disproportionately high. The difference is particularly marked among women.

Race was also factored into the Harvard report. The most seriously effected counties had large black populations, but both whites and blacks living there had shorter life spans than their counterparts in more prosperous areas.

The data comes just a year after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report saying U.S. life expectancy had risen to nearly 78 years in 2005, a new high in the country.

But the new information may show that just because overall life expectancy rates are higher, it does not mean the country is doing a good job when it comes to health care.
"There has been increasing disparity in health in the U.S. population for two decades," said Majid Ezzati, one of the researchers who led the study. He said that the numbers mean “we are leaving a larger and larger part of the population behind.”

Headline Link: ‘Life Expectancy Falls in Poorer U.S. Counties'

Related Topics: Poverty and health care issues around the country

Background: Life expectancy rises in the United States

Opinion & Analysis: The country’s health care system needs fixing

Reference: The politics of health care, obesity and smoking


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