Life Span Decreasing for Some

By Richard Nelson

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May 18, 2017

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A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that life spans are decreasing for some Americans. In fact, there's a gap between counties with the longest life spans and counties with the shortest. It's a 20 year difference. People in communities that are well-off and better educated live longer and people in communities that are poorer and less educated have shorter life spans. People in these counties also make poorer health decisions, exercise less, drink and smoke more and consume less healthy foods. Interestingly, the Headline at NPR said: There's more grim news about inequality in America. Think about that for a minute. Is this really another story about inequality? Perhaps it would better be framed as a story about choices. Truth is, better choices lead to better outcomes, including a longer  and healthier life.

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center