women 4 hope

Dedicated to addressing women’s issues.

Why Are Women Dying Younger In America?

Posted by Catherine Morgan on April 26, 2008

Why Is Life Expectancy For Women Going Down In America? – by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

A new study has found that the life expectancy for women in the United States is on the decline. But don’t worry, this is not something that will affect ALL women in our country – just the poor women.

Even more troubling, is that the study doesn’t include any statistics after 1999. What that means is, the Bush years have not been figured into these statistics. I can only imagine how the last eight years of the Bush administration have impacted the reality of these numbers.

It seems like it wasn’t that long ago, that I heard how the US life expectancy had slipped in ranking from 11th to 42nd, behind most European countries.   SEE VIDEO HERE

John Edwards was absolutely right when he talked about two Americas. Try to picture America on one side, and a third-world country on the other. Now picture that third-world country within the United States. Thanks to a failing economy and a serious health care crisis, that is exactly what we face today. It’s really not surprising at all. Very sad, but not surprising.

From The New York Times

Life expectancy has long been growing steadily for most Americans. But it has not for a significant minority, according to a new study, which finds a growing disparity in mortality depending on race, income and geography.

The study, published Monday in the online journal PLoS, analyzed life expectancy in all 3,141 counties in the United States from 1961 to 1999, the latest year for which complete data have been released by the National Center for Health Statistics. Although life span has generally increased since 1961, the authors reported, it began to level off or even decline in the 1980s for 4 percent of men and 19 percent of women.

“It’s very troubling that there are parts of the wealthiest country in the world, with the highest health spending in the world, where health is getting worse,” said Majid Ezzati, the lead author and an associate professor of international health at Harvard. It is a phenomenon, he added, “unheard of in any other developed country.”

Listen to an interview on NPR

Women in the southern part of the U.S. are dying earlier than before, according to a new study of life expectancy among women in the deep south and lower Midwest. The study’s lead author, Dr. Christopher Murray, explains the findings. And Dr. Wendy Klein, who specializes in women’s health, discusses what could be causing the change.

This is from a post at Momathon Blog

Women in the U.S. aren’t living as long these days. Can we blame it on the increase in obesity, high blood pressure, smoking and chronic illnesses related to these health concerns? One of every five American women (compared to only one of every 25 men) are dying at a younger age or seeing no improvement in life span according to a new study by researchers at Harvard University and the University of Washington. That works out to be a decline average of 1.3 years in 180 counties mainly in the south and certain rural areas. The decline is not the same in all parts of the country. That raises the question: What is causing the deadly trend? And why are life expectancies not on the decline for other Western nations?

This is from Crooks and Liars

Now it would be easy to take the Republican route and blame this on individual lifestyle choices rather than looking at this as a symptom of inequality of care. PBS has just recently offered a series titled “Unnatural Causes: is inequality making us sick?” showing how our position in society affects our health. Executive Producer Larry Adelman wrote about it at the AFL-CIOblog.

This is from Healthy Moms

There is a lot of discussion about a recent study done in the late 1990’s that concluded that the life expectancy rate in American women is declining. On AmericaBlog.com readers are blaming Republicans and the current administration for the decline. I don’t understand why since the study was done before President Bush was elected. Anyway enough of my politics. I thought that this story would be fitting because most of my readers are women.

It would be easy to look at this study and assume that these women are choosing an unhealthy lifestyle, and therefore contributing to the health conditions that are causing them to die at a younger age. But when you look closer, it’s clear that poverty and a lack of adequate healthcare is the underlying cause. I hope these new findings will be a catalyst in helping to bridge the gap between poverty and wellness.

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan, also at The Care2 Election Blog

Over 400 Women Blogging on Politics at The Political Voices of Women. I hope you will consider joining our community.

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8 Responses to “Why Are Women Dying Younger In America?”

  1. I understand why life expectancy drops in the US. Many factors are at play but one that indeed plays a big role: life circumstances and eating.

    Americans have become more heavy in the last 10 years and this would explain one reason with all the fast food joints just lining all over America. People are cooking less at home using traditional methods.

    Ofcourse, smoking in the last 30 years would also paly a major factor here. Those dying young would have had to be sick from something and smoking laws were relaxed back in the 70s 80s and 90s.

    It’s a shame really.

    Cheers.

    John
    http://Learn2QuitSmoking.com

  2. I enjoy reading each of your blog, such great information and such wonderful words of wisdom.

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  4. valentin said

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  5. Bob said

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    It’s brand new – get it going the way you would like to see it! New topics at will, and forums by request are yours for the asking.

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  6. Sytropin said

    Catherine,

    Beautiful post.

    I agree with you. The fast paced life comes with un-healthy life styles, which is the main cause for decline in the life expectancy.

    ~Sytropin.

  7. Jessie said

    Hi there! My name is Jessie and I work at W Magazine. For our most recent issue we published an in-depth interview with OB-GYN-turned-alternative-health-guru, Christiane Northrup. It’s a really interesting, empowering, and frankly controversial article. I think you and your readers might be interested in how it relates to women’s health. Here’s a link to the article on our website…
    http://www.wmagazine.com/beauty/2008/10/holistic_cures

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