I’ve never given much thought as to how long I would live. When my time is up – it’s up. I would have assumed, however, that given the advances made in healthcare over the last several decades, that my generation will live longer than the ones before it. More than an assumption, actually, it’s common knowledge and easily confirmed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
So I was very surprised to see a headline pop up in my inbox today telling me that life is getting shorter for women in hundreds of U.S. counties. Sure enough, a new study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington (Seattle) found that women fare worse than men in terms of life expectancy. The same study suggests that people in Appalachia, the Deep South, and Northern Texas live the shortest lives; and that most counties within the U.S. are falling behind compared to people in Japan, Canada, and other nations that are enjoying significant gains in life expectancy every year – largely due to obesity, tobacco use, and other preventable risk factors for an early death.
Five counties in Mississippi have the lowest life expectancies for women, all below 74.5 years. Women live the longest in Collier, Florida, at 86 years on average, better than France, Switzerland, and Spain. Women are also living longer lives in Teton, Wyoming; San Mateo and Marin, California; and Montgomery, Maryland. So that settles it – I guess I need to move to one of those places if I want to improve my life expectancy.