Granular map of US shows life expectancy, diabetes in pieces

Time01:48 Date28-04-2020 Hits256 Views

Back in 2009, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ranked the US 25th out of its 30 member countries for life expectancy. The low ranking raised eyebrows because per capita healthcare spending by Americans was more than twice the average rate in the countries evaluated in the report.

As it turns out, it only gets worse. A series of maps published today lend credence to the idea that, on top of the US's low international ranking, life expectancy has actually dropped in parts of the nation over the past two decades, particularly for women.

“It's a wake up call for all of us,” says global health researcher Ali Mokdad of the University of Washington, Seattle. "Maybe we should go back to our drawing board and look at health in a different way in this country."

 Mudaru capsule diabetes map of US

Using mortality data from 1987 to 2007, Mokdad and his colleagues at Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle and Imperial College London broke down life expectancy by county—rather than the state level. In some areas, there are striking differences even between adjacent counties. In the southwest corner of Arizona, for example, the life expectancy in Yuma County has increased by five years while residents in La Paz County, immediately to the south, have shorter lives than those who lived there the late 1980s. The findings appear today in the journal Population Health Metrics.

Mudaru capsule diabetes map of US 2

Beyond looking at life expectancy, the researchers also generated a diabetes prevalence map (males shown above). The image shows that doctors fighting the disorder have mountains to climb, quite literally: There’s a strip of high diabetes communities, in the 15-20% range, throughout Appalachia and also at the tip of Texas. Most striking is Alaska, dyed the purples of high diabetes prevalence. Mokdad is sure this isn’t a fluke, but rather a true reflection of health, perhaps due to the isolation of residents there or the local Native American population, who did not fare well throughout the study.

diabetes Mudaru 2

Mokdad hopes that the local specificity of the maps will shock citizens and policymakers into action when they see this community-level data. “They can look at the counties where there is a success story and say, 'What did they do right? How can I do what they did? '”He says. "If you have a problem and you put a policy in place and it succeeds, it's motivation for other states."

Source: Natureblog

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