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Life expectancy gap growing in US.

The national life expectancy gap across counties in the U.S. is growing, according to a study published in May in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The study, which looked at life expectancy by county from 1980 to 2014, found that the gap between the counties with the highest and lowest life expectancies has widened. However, all counties experienced a decrease in the risk of dying before age 5, with the gap between the counties with the highest and lowest rates of children dying before age 5 decreasing since 1980.

Ogala Lakota County, South Dakota, had the lowest life expectancy, at 66.8 years in 2014, while Summit County, Colorado, had the highest, at 86.8 years. Summit County was among a group of Colorado counties with the highest life expectancy in the country.

A number of behavioral risk factors, including obesity, lack of exercise, smoking and hypertension, were attributed to 74 percent of the differences in life expectancy. Socio-economic factors, including race, poverty, income, education and unemployment, accounted for 60 percent. Access to and quality of health care accounted for 27 percent of the disparities.

"These findings demonstrate an urgent imperative, that policy changes at all levels are gravely needed to reduce inequality in the health of Americans," said study co-author Ali Mokdad, PhD, in a news release. "Federal, state and local health departments need to invest in programs that work and engage their communities."

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Title Annotation:STATES IN BRIEF
Publication:The Nation's Health
Date:Aug 1, 2017
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