U.S. Lags Behind Many Nations for Average Life Expectancy, Study Finds
Overall life expectancy in the U.S. has reached new highs, but it remains lower than average life expectancies in many other countries, according to a study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, California Watch reports (Lin, California Watch, 6/15).
The study -- which was published in the journal Population Health Metrics -- looks at life expectancy in U.S. counties and other nations between 2000 and 2007 (Stobbe, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 6/14).
The study found that in 2007:
- The U.S. ranked 37th in the world for life expectancy;
- The average U.S. man could expect to live 75.6 years; and
- The average U.S. woman could expect to live 80.8 years.
The institute also found that between 2000 and 2007, more than 80% of U.S. counties fell in standing compared with the average of the 10 nations with the highest life expectancy.
According to the study, the average Californian lives longer than the average American. The study found that the average California man could expect to live 77.4 years, while the average California woman could expect to live 82.2 years.
Among U.S. states, California men have the seventh-highest life expectancy and California women have the fifth-highest life expectancy.
According to researchers, the life expectancy gap between the U.S. and other countries could be attributed to factors such as obesity, high blood pressure and tobacco use.
Christopher Murray, co-author of the study and director of the institute, said a greater focus on primary care and public health programs in other countries also could contribute to the difference in life expectancies (California Watch, 6/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.