Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Disturbing trend: Life Expectancy Decreasing for Some in US...

Average life expectancy has steadily increased in the United States over the years. However, there was a steady increase in mortality inequality across portions of the US during the 1980's and 1990's, resulting from stagnation or increase in mortality among the worst-off segment of the population. Female mortality increased in a large number of counties, primarily because of chronic diseases related to smoking, overweight and obesity, and high blood pressure. Here is a link to the recently published research findings, PLoS Medicine.

Analysis of the study from the Public Library of Science:

The findings suggest that beginning in the early 1980s and continuing through 1999 those who were already disadvantaged did not benefit from the gains in life expectancy experienced by the advantaged, and some became even worse off. The study emphasizes how important it is to monitor health inequalities between different groups, in order to ensure that everyone—and not just the well-off—can experience gains in life expectancy. Although the “reversal of fortune” that the researchers found applied to only a minority of the population, the authors argue that their study results are troubling because an oft-stated aim of the US health system is the improvement of the health of “all people, and especially those at greater risk of health disparities”


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