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U.S. Life Expectancy Varies by Two Decades Depending on Location

Even as life expectancy is rising in many places across the U.S., there are some places where lifespans are getting shorter and geographical inequalities are becoming more pronounced, a new study suggests.

Nationwide in 2014, the average life expectancy was about 79.1 years, up 5.3 years from 1980, the study found. For men, life expectancy climbed from 70 years to 76.7 years, while for women it increased from 77.5 years to 81.5 years.

But the study also highlighted stark disparities: a baby born in Oglala Lakota County, South Dakota, can expect to live just 66.8 years, while a child born in Summit County, Colorado, can expect to live 86.8 years, on average.

“For both of these geographies, the drastically different life expectancies are likely the result of a combination of risk factors, socioeconomics and access and quality of health care in those areas,” said senior study author Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle.

“We found that risk factors – obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, hypertension, and diabetes – explained 74 percent of the variation in longevity in the U.S.,” Murray said by email. “Socioeconomic factors – a combination of poverty, income, education, unemployment and race – were independently related to 60 percent of the inequality, and access to and quality of health care explained 27 percent.”

To examine changes in life expectancy over time, researchers looked at death certificates from each county in the country.

Several counties in South and North Dakota, typically with Native American reservations, had the lowest life expectancy, the study found. Counties along the lower half of the Mississippi and in eastern Kentucky and southwestern West Virginia also had very low life expectancy compared with the rest of the country.

In contrast, counties in central Colorado had the highest life expectancy.

Some of the biggest gains in life expectancy during the study were seen in counties in central Colorado, Alaska and in metropolitan areas around San Francisco and New York.

But there was little, if any, improvement in life expectancy in some southern counties in states stretching from Oklahoma to West Virginia. Many counties where life expectancy dropped the most are in Kentucky.

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One limitation of the study is that there might be errors in county death records, the authors note. Researchers also lacked data to explore how much the findings might be explained by migration of certain types of people to certain communities.

“The bottom line is that our life expectancy is increasingly being shaped by where we live within the U.S.,” said Jennifer Karas Montez, a sociology researcher at Syracuse University in New York who wasn’t involved in the study.

“Lifestyle behaviors are not causes, they are symptoms,” Montez said by email. “They are symptoms of the environment and the social and economic deprivation that many parts of the country now endure thanks to decades of policy decisions.”

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Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "U.S. Life Expectancy Varies by Two Decades Depending on Location" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional.

Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.

We are here to help you and your family.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed in: Texas & New Mexico*

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Disclaimer *

The information herein is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional. Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

phone: 915-850-0900

Licensed in Texas & New Mexico *

Post Disclaimer

Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "U.S. Life Expectancy Varies by Two Decades Depending on Location" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional.

Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.

We are here to help you and your family.

Blessings

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed in: Texas & New Mexico*