Women’s life expectancy falling

Study finds premature-death rates rising for women in rural South and West

The average lifespan for some of America’s women is getting shorter, a study finds.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin looked at federal death records for nearly all of the nation’s counties over 10 years, finding about 43 percent had declining life expectancy for women, especially disadvantaged white women, according to the Huffington Post. They found the average premature-death rate—mortality rates for women ages 75 and younger—rose in 1,344 of the counties studied. Many of the counties with high premature-death rates were in the rural South and West, and some experts point to such factors as high obesity and smoking rates.

Women typically have longer lives than men (a baby girl born in the United States today is expected to live to be 81 years old, while a boy is expected to live to age 76), but data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the gap has been narrowing since the late 1980s.