As women continue to live longer than men, they are no longer outliving their generational counterparts. Experts believe that this decline in lifespan may be directly related to the growing obesity rates in the country and the significant damage that smoking has on the human body, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The life expectancy for Americans has grown over the past two decades for men and women, but there has been a growing gap between the most and least healthy places to live, the media outlet reports.
In 737 counties, life expectancies fell between 1997 and 2007. For this to happen in a developed nation is a rare feat, not often seen by researchers. The decline started before 1997, but that is when the problem really gained steam. This is the worst decline in the U.S. since the Spanish influenza epidemic in 1918, and may cause life insurance rates to rise, according to the news source.
"There are just lots of places where things are getting worse," said Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, which conducted the research. "We're not keeping up."