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U.S. Found to Be Losing Ground in Life Expectancy
Date:6/15/2011

ries."

The county-by-county comparison within the United States may be even more disturbing, he said.

Black men have the lowest life expectancy in the United States, at 70 years, the study found, and Asian-American women have the highest, at 85.7 years. White women live an average of about 81 years.

Women in five counties in Mississippi had the lowest average life span, below 74.5 years -- lower than women in Honduras or El Salvador.

Five Mississippi counties also ranked poorly for men. With a life expectancy of less than 67 years, men there had the lowest life expectancy in the United States and fell behind Brazil and the Philippines.

"A life expectancy of 65.9 for males in one county in the U.S. places that population's longevity prospects in the context of parts of sub-Saharan Africa," Olshansky said.

On the flip side, women living in Collier County, Fla., have more to look forward to. The report found that women there live an average of 86 years, longer than in France, Switzerland or Spain.

Men in Virginia's Fairfax County have the longest life expectancy in the United States, at 81.1 years, higher than in Japan or Australia.

Sometimes great disparities live almost literally right next door to each other. The average life expectancy in Yuma, Ariz., has increased 8.5 years for men since 1987, but in neighboring La Paz County, people can expect to live one year less than they did 20 years ago.

"Disparities have long been known to occur because of variation in education and behavioral risk factors, which are also mediated by race," Olshansky explained.

Reducing tobacco use, especially among women, along with lowering obesity and blood pressure rates, would go a long way toward solving the problem, according to the report's authors.

In fact, if these three factors plus blood sugar levels were better controlled, they said, life expectancy would increase about five years for women and four y
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