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Years of life expectancy decline for least educated whites.


In a study on life expectancy, most race and ethnic groups had increased life expectancies over the last 18 years except for those whites who had less than a high school education whose life expectancy declined says Owasso Family Medicine.

Owasso, OK (PRWEB) October 31, 2012

A study in the journal Health Affairs ( looked at life expectancies at various ages in different race, gender, and ethnic groups in 1990, 2000, and 2008.

They found that women, regardless of educational attainment, lived longer than men at every age investigated – a not unexpected finding.

Hispanics had the highest life expectancy at birth for both men and women. This finding has to be interpreted with caution as those Hispanics who are born in the United States are not as healthy as those who have emigrated here and any advantage demonstrated will probably decline as those US-born Hispanics eventually age. Also those older Hispanics who have emigrated here may return to their native country to retire and die, thus their death is not represented in the US statistics.

Education was strongly associated with life expectancy within all racial and ethnic subgroups. The difference in life expectancy between those with the most and least education varied from 2.9 years in Hispanic females to 12.9 years in white males.

Trends in life expectancy from 1990 to 2008 showed that for those with less than a high school education, whites' life expectancy actually decreased about 8% for both men and women when comparing 2008 life expectancy rates to those of 1990. It is unknown exactly why this is happening. Some hypotheses for the decreasing life expectancy include prescription drug overdoses, higher rates of smoking, and increasing obesity.

Since education was so strongly associated with life expectancy, one of the concluding points of the study was to implement policies that encourage life-long learning as a bridge “to the present” for those whose life expectancies are mired in the life expectancies of the 1960s and 1970s.

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