If Ponce de Leon were around today, he might settle down in the high country of Central Colorado. No, they haven’t found the fountain of youth – but they must be doing something right. According to a new report in JAMA Internal Medicine, that part of the country has our nation’s highest rate of life expectancy at almost 87 years.
Long life is a gift that has never been democratically distributed. You may die young or old, and it’s impossible to know in your first years just when your last ones will come. A new study from JAMA Internal Medicine shows, however, that one of the biggest X-factors may be simple geography. Where you live may play a powerful role in when you’ll die.
According to the Washington Post, “Life expectancy is greatest in the high country of central Colorado, but in many pockets of the United States, life expectancy is more than 20 years lower, according to the report from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. “Life expectancy in many places in this country is declining. It’s going backward instead of forward,” said Ali Mokdad, a co-author of the report and a professor at the university. “These disparities are widening, so this gap is increasing.”
The life expectancy gap is huge and it varies greatly. While only a few hundred miles separates north central Colorado from the southernmost point of South Dakota….being born in the latter means, on average, you will live about 20 years less. Science Recorder.com points out:
“Most counties with long lifespans – such as Marin County, California, and Summit County, Colorado – have wealthier, more educated people, while regions with shorter life expectancies are on the opposite end of the spectrum.”
To that end, Scientific American quoted senior study author Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, as saying – “For both of these geographies, the drastically different life expectancies are likely the result of a combination of risk factors, socioeconomics and access and quality of health care in those areas.”
The CDC recently wrote that the overall life expectancy in the U.S is now 78.8 years, Here in Arizona, we are ranked 17th nationally by WorldLifeExpectancy.com with an age that is slightly above the national average at 79.64 years.
Share your thoughts on this new study and how we can use the results to help bolster the life expectancy numbers in our state. Working with our partners to find new ways to live longer, healthier lives is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!