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State of the Union for Life Expectancy Is Positive, but Some States Lag Behind


A new study published in JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association reveals a variety of recent health trends in the U.S., including a detailed breakdown of data at the state level. A group of researchers called the U.S. Burden of Disease Collaborators completed the study as part of an annual assessment known as the “Global Burden of Disease” (GBD) analysis. The GBD represents an ongoing effort by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) to quantify health disparities—part of an effort toward improving health systems around the world.

Among several key health measures including disease prevalence, mortality, years of life lost and risk factors, the new study highlights state-by-state life expectancy estimates from 1990 and 2016. These data show an across-the-board improvement in life expectancy during this period as well as changes in how states rank relative to one another. Hawaii retains the top ranking, boasting an estimated life expectancy of 81.3 years—up from 78.5 in 1990—whereas the lowest spot, previously held by Washington, D.C., is now occupied by Mississippi, where the 2016 estimate only saw a rise to 74.7. In a striking improvement D.C. now ranks 36th, their life expectancy having jumped by nearly 10 years between 1990 and 2016.



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