American “Exceptionalism”: Life Expectancy In America Decreasing In Many Sections, And What It Says About America

A new study by the Institute For Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington demonstrates that life expectancy in America varies widely by region, and is decreasing in some locations in the country.

Eighty percent of American counties fell behind in standing as against the average of the ten nations with the best life expectancies in the world.

The US is only 36th in life expectancy overall, with an average of 78.3 years, with overall increase in expectancy by about two years for men to 75.6 in 2007, and one year increase in expectancy for women to 80.8 in the same year.

But areas of life expectancy that are declining or lower than the average are most common in West Virginia, through the Southern Appalachian Mountains, and west through the Deep South into North Texas.

The oddity is that certain states have areas of growth in life expectancy in sections near others that are in decline, as in Virginia, Colorado, Minnesota, Utah, California, Washington State, and Florida.

Factors involved in differences in life expectancy seem to be obesity and smoking, along with poorly controlled blood pressure and a lack of primary care physicians.

The state, overall, with the worst life expectancy is Mississippi, not all that surprising, whether white or African American population. Mississippi falls behind such countries as Honduras, El Salvador, Peru, Brazil, Latvia, and the Philippines.

This study makes it clear that we have a long way to go as a nation to improve the health care of our citizens, particularly those who are poor, whether white or minority background. But instead, the emphasis is on cutting back on health care, because of the claim that America is “exceptional”, and that we have the best health care system in the world, a totally inaccurate statement, as that is only true for those who are rich and fortunate, not for wide swaths of American society!