United States poverty and health

This video from the USA is called Life Expectancy Rising Faster for Men Than Women.

By Kate Randall in the USA:

The social crisis in the US and the 2012 elections

4 May 2012

Three and a half years into the economic crisis, the conditions of life facing millions of people in the US are disastrous. Whatever the talk of an economic “recovery,” poverty, perpetual unemployment, impossible levels of debt pervade American society.

One recent report provides a stark portrait of the “third world” conditions in broad swaths of the country. According to the report, on life expectancy, preschoolers in many areas can expect to live no longer than children in some of the most impoverished countries in the world. In hundreds of counties, these rates have either shown no improvement or worsened.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), based at the University of Washington, compiled data on every county in the US, calculating life expectancy each year from 1989 through 2009 and comparing county life expectancies to those in other countries worldwide. There is little doubt that the conditions of life for many of the areas with the lowest life expectancies are worse now than the last year included in the study, 2009.

The institute’s findings are alarming in two respects. Not only have improvements in US life expectancy lagged behind those in Western Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, Japan and elsewhere, but there are vast disparities from county to county in how long Americans can expect to live—sometimes varying by as much as 16 years.

In 2009, the average life expectancy for US men was 76.2 years, up 4.6 years since 1989. Life expectancy for women rose only 2.7 years over this same period, to 81.3 years. But IHME’s William Heisel commented that these modest changes were “not a great improvement. That’s far behind the countries that are doing the best.”

How long a child born in 2009 can expect to live varies dramatically depending on his or her place of birth. In Marin County, California, with a median household income of $91,792 in 2009, men can expect to live to 81.6 years. But in Quitman and Tunica counties in Mississippi, male life expectancy is just 66 years—comparable to Pakistan. Median household income for these two counties was $24,491 and $27,218, respectively, in 2009.

While life expectancy for women in Collier County, Florida stood at 85.8 years in 2009, women in McDowell, West Virginia could only expect to live to 74 years, about the same as in Algeria. Again, the difference in life expectancy corresponded to a disparity in median household income—$52,988 in Collier and $21,474 in McDowell.

In the Kansas City metropolitan area, comparisons of life expectancies by county demonstrate a growing social divide. The Kansas City (Missouri) Health Department tracked life expectancy by city ZIP codes and found one with a life expectancy of 85 years and another with only 69 years—a staggering difference of 16 years.

The IHME research shows that the biggest drivers of health disparities—and hence preventable causes of death—include tobacco use, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity and alcohol abuse. Such deaths, however, are only “preventable” to the extent that the health care system works to prevent these conditions in the first place, and that there is proper medical intervention to treat them if they develop.

In fact, pervasive poverty, stress over working conditions, lost jobs, foreclosures and mounting household debt are contributing factors to deteriorating health for millions of US families—a situation that has worsened as a result of the recession. As the WSWS reports in the series “Hunger stalks America,” one in six Americans—or about 500 million people—now struggle with hunger and are turning to food banks in record numbers.

USA: Unemployment Rate Falls To 8.1 Percent As People Give Up On Looking For Work: here.

This Is Why You’re Fat: The 2012 Farm Bill and the Real Obesity Lobby. Suzanne Merkelson, Republic Report: “There’s no data available yet on lobbying on the new farm bill, but a look at OpenSecrets’ database on the 2007 bill provides a look at who might be involved this time around: Big Agriculture – which spends millions lobbying the federal government on food policy … As the 2012 farm bill heads from the Senate to the House of Representatives, it’s important to keep in mind that this isn’t just a farm bill – it’s a food bill, helping to dictate what kinds of food people can afford”: here.

HOW POVERTY AFFECTS YOUR BRAIN “Imaging studies show that the conditions that go hand-in-hand with poverty — a combination of environmental factors and emotional stressors — can actually slow the development of crucial parts of the brain involved in regulating behavior, impulsivity, and mood. And lacking resources appears to promote certain behaviors (such as excessive borrowing) that perpetuate the poverty cycle.” [Attention]

5 thoughts on “United States poverty and health

  1. Pingback: United States rich get richer | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Something very twisted is happening – it’s been happening for a long time. But we’re reaching the point where we can’t allow it to continue because it’s putting us all at risk.

    A study out today shows that Americans waste about 40 percent of our food. Try to picture all the food that we grow and import to feed a population over 300 million. Then take 40 percent of it and put it in a big, rotting pile. That pile represents a massive waste of energy, water and time. It also gives off a massive amount of methane, a greenhouse gas more powerful than carbon dioxide.

    How are we able to throw away $165 billion worth of food every year, while, in 2008, 1.29 billion people survived on less than $1.25 per day? Where’s that “efficiency” those who worship at the altar of “free markets” always preach about?

    It turns out, for efficiency, sometimes you have to remove the profit motive. Truthout is a staff of deeply committed people who do this work because we love it – a much more powerful drive than profit.


  3. Pingback: Hunger in the USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Poor Americans’ lives getting shorter | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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