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Residents of the U.S. South of all races live shortest lives

July 18, 2013 at 10:10 PM   |   Comments

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ATLANTA, July 18 (UPI) -- U.S. adults age 65 and older in the South of all races and African-Americans in the entire country live shorter and sicker lives, health officials say.

A report in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found for all adults at 65, the highest healthy life expectancy was in Hawaii at 16.2 years and the lowest was in Mississippi at 10.8 years.

Healthy life expectancy is a population health measure that estimates expected years of life in good health for people at a given age.

The researchers used data from the National Vital Statistics Systems of the U.S. Census Bureau for 2007-09 and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to calculate healthy life expectancies by sex and race.

Healthy life expectancy was longer for females in all states, with the difference ranging from 0.7 years in Louisiana to 3.1 years in North Dakota and South Dakota.

"Where you live in the United States shouldn't determine how long and how healthy you live -- but it does, far more than it should," Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, said in a statement.

"Not only do people in certain states and African-Americans live shorter lives, they also live a greater proportion of their last years in poor health. It will be important moving forward to support prevention programs that make it easier for people to be healthy no matter where they live."

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