Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Declining Life Expectancy in the United States

Well this is sobering.  In many parts of the country, life expectancy has declined in the past 20 years a new study finds.
There are a lot of factors wrapped up in the life expectancy statistic, but as a general trend, this can't be construed as anything but an epic public health failure.  From our failure to provide adequate rural health services, our failure to provide universal access to healthcare, our subsidy of the corn industry facilitating the production of unhealthy food, the lack of obesity education, and a whole slew of other factors play a part in this invisible crisis.
Five counties in Mississippi have the lowest life expectancies for women, all below 74.5 years, putting them behind nations such as Honduras, El Salvador, and Peru. Four of those counties, along with Humphreys County, MS, have the lowest life expectancies for men, all below 67 years, meaning they are behind Brazil, Latvia, and the Philippines. (from the press release)
Aaron Carroll writes
The red areas are where life expectancy fell over twenty years for women. I’m willing to bet those also happen to be some of the poorest areas of the country. Think about that whenever someone talks about increasing the eligibility age for Medicare or Social Security. The people who lose the most benefits are also likely those who need the programs the most.
No wonder the UK government is running as fast as it can from any association with the American healthcare system.

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