Life Expectancy in U.S. Counties Below Many Nations

Women, and black men and women have lower life expectancy in all U.S. counties

WEDNESDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- Most counties within the United States fall behind the international frontier with the best life expectancies in the world, according to a study published online June 15 in Population Health Metrics.

Sandeep C. Kulkarni, M.D., from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues compared the life expectancy in counties in the United States with that of 10 nations with the best life expectancies in the world.

The investigators found that more than 80 percent of U.S. counties fell behind the average life expectancy of the 10 nations in the international frontier. Compared to the international frontier, U.S. counties ranged from being 15 calendar years ahead for men and 16 calendar years ahead for women to more than 50 calendar years behind for both. In all U.S. counties, black men and women had lower life expectancies than white men and women. Women fared more poorly than men, with women falling more than five years behind the 10 nations in 1,373 counties and men in 661 counties. Change in life expectancy was uneven and was found to vary up to a decade within some states. The relatively low life expectancy may be attributable to obesity, tobacco use, and other preventable risk factors.

"By creating this time series, which has never been available at the county level, we hope states and counties will be able to take targeted action," Kulkarni said in a statement.

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