Research shows that life expectancy disparities across different counties in the United States are increasing over time. But less is known about specific geographic patterns and the underlying causes of death.
Christopher Murray, Professor at the Global Health University, explains that there are probably two key drivers of death rate changes. They are the changes of risks people have, like tobacco or obesity, and access to treatment, prevention or cure.
Dr. Christopher Murray and researchers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) looked at death certificates from more than 3,000 U.S. counties from 1980 to 2014. Their aim was to discover the leading cause of death in each area and to determine trends over time by region.
They discovered that the disparities across counties are increasing over time. They also found that different causes matter more in different parts of U.S. In the West, violent death is more common, whereas heart disease is more common in South-East. Also, deaths from drugs are much more common in West Virginia or Kentucky.
Dr. Murray adds that it is essential to understand why there are such variations in how people live and what causes children, adults and older people to die at different levels in different communities.
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