A study shows that the part of the country you live in could swing your life expectancy by up to 21 years.
The study, which was put together by a team of researchers at the University of Washington, shows that the part of the country you live in could swing your life expectancy by up to 21 years. The study also shows that obesity and diabetes could be to blame for that massive gap.
To compile the study, the analysts looked at life expectancy, as well as risk of death, from 1980-2014 in every freakin’ county in America. They found out that Americans are living longer, at least overall, and that males born in 2014 can bank on living 77 years while girls born in 2014 can bank on living 81.5 years.
That’s a five-year increase from 1980.
However, you’re probably like, “Man, tell me about what they said about each county so I can know when I’ll die already.” Alright, chill. The research team found that people in central Colorado’s ski country tend to live the longest (87 years), while people in several North and South Dakota counties, as well as Appalachia and the Mississippi River basin, tended to be the lowest. If you’re a numbers person, know that some areas in southwestern South Dakota came in last with an expectancy of just 66 years.
“Several counties in South and North Dakota (typically those with Native American reservations) had the lowest life expectancy, and 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,” they explained. “In contrast, counties in central Colorado had the highest life expectancies.”
While economic status has much to do with life expectancy, as other studies and common sense have made clear, the team also found that “behavioral and metabolic risk factors” also heavily factor into the length of one’s life (see: smoking and obesity). If you’re looking to quit the tar, these steps could help and if you’re looking to cut some weight, well, the site is called Men’s Health. Just click around. Additionally, access to healthcare was also a major factor in prolonging (or shortening) the lives of Americans, which seems kind of relevant given current events.
According to NBC News, the Indian Health Service has been frequently knocked in the past for their lack of adequate healthcare on their reservations, several of which reside in the Dakotas.
The researchers also explained the importance of what they wrote (though, you likely already figured it out).
“This study found large—and increasing—geographic disparities among counties in life expectancy over the past 35 years,” they said. “The magnitude of these disparities demands action, all the more urgently because inequalities will only increase further if recent trends are allowed to continue uncontested.”
A look at the rest of the map, so you can figure out where exactly your county stands, can be found here.
Panic or breathe a sigh of relief accordingly.