May 25, 2024

Life expectancy declines for some Americans

“Unheard of”, says researcher
No statistic symbolises the metronomic onwards-and-upwards tramp of progress than ever-increasing life expectancy. So it has come as a shock to Americans to find that for 4% of men and 19% of women, life expectancy has begun to decline. An article in the online journal PLOS shows that between 1961 and 1999, the last year for which data was available, it actually dropped by 1.3 years for men in 11 counties in the US and for women in 180 counties. "It’s very troubling that there are parts of the wealthiest country in the world, with the highest health spending in the world, where health is getting worse," says the lead author of the study, Majid Ezzati, of Harvard University. This is unheard of in any other developed country, he says.

The disparity between counties with the highest life expectancy and the lowest also grew. In 1983 it was 9 years for men and 6.7 for women. In 1999 it was 9 years and 7.5 years, respectively. The counties with the lowest life expectancy are concentrated in Appalachia, the Southeast, Texas, the southern Midwest and along the Mississippi River. The highest are mainly in the Northeast and along the Pacific coast. ~ New York Times, Apr 22