The State of U.S. Health: Life Expectancy

You can learn a lot about any community, big or small, by taking a look at some of its key health indicators. What is the average lifespan of the community members? How about the youngest members? Are they surviving into adulthood? Take even a quick look at basic health data for the U.S., such as life expectancy and infant mortality, and you soon gain a clear picture of where people are living the longest and thriving. Perhaps not surprisingly, Hawaii boasts the longest average life expectancy for its residents. When the states with the lowest life expectancy and highest infant mortality are examined, however, a disturbing trend emerges: all are Southern states. Perhaps just as disturbing is how the U.S. ranks with the rest of the world in regards to life expectancy. While life expectancy is increasing in countries such as the U.K. and Canada, according to at least one study, in many parts of the U.S., life expectancy is declining.

According to one expert, programs that educate people about the benefits of quitting smoking, losing weight, and improving their health could help reverse the trend and improve life expectancy numbers. David Kindig, Ph.D., professor emeritus of population health sciences at the University of Wisconsin, Madison said, "There needs to be more investments in policies and programs at local as well as state and national levels to move those metrics.”

Learn more about life and death in the U.S. and how those in the health education field are working to enhance the length and quality of life for Americans by teaching them how to live healthy lives.


“Life Expectancy in U.S. Trails Top Nations,” CNN, June 2011

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The State of U.S. Health: Life Expectancy
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