May 6, 2016 – Location, Location
Anchor lead: Geography significantly impacts longevity, Elizabeth Tracey reports
Wealth matters when it comes to longevity, a recent study looking at national data shows, but where you live is also very important. Mike Klag, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, describes the findings.
Klag: At the bottom of the income distribution life expectancy would vary by five, six, years. This work builds on work that was published recently about decreasing life expectancy in middle aged persons in the US. These are dry numbers but what they translate into people’s everyday experience is seeing their life expectancy go down, their opportunities go down, and that’s what’s driving I think some of the political discussion in this country. The good thing is by strengthening communities, we can ameliorate and change, reverse some of these trends. :31
Klag says the income and geography variation remained even when access to healthcare was not a factor, indicating that lifestyle choices such as smoking, diet, and physical activity are very powerful when it comes to longevity, so helping people make better choices is key. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.