redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online
Seniors living in Hawaii have the longest healthy life expectancy, while those living in the South, regardless of race, have the lowest, the CDC reported on Thursday in a state-by-state analysis of life expectancy for Americans 65 years of age.
Healthy life expectancy (HLE) is a population health measure that estimates the number of expected years of life in good health for people at a given age.
“Where you live in the United States shouldn’t determine how long and how healthy you live – but it does, far more than it should,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden.
“Not only do people in certain states and African-Americans live shorter lives, they also live a greater proportion of their last years in poor health. It will be important moving forward to support prevention programs that make it easier for people to be healthy no matter where they live.”
The CDC used 2007-2009 data from the National Vital Statistics Systems, US Census Bureau, and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to calculate HLEs by sex and race for each of the 50 states and Washington, DC, for all people 65 years of age.
The highest HLE was observed in Hawaii (16.2 years), while the lowest was seen in Mississippi (10.8 years).
HLE estimates for whites were lowest for seniors in Southern states. For blacks, HLE was comparatively low in all states and Washington, DC, with the exception of Nevada and New Mexico.
HLE was found to be greater for females than for males in all states, with the difference ranging from 0.7 years in Louisiana to 3.1 years in the Dakotas. For 65-year-old males, HLE varied between a low of 10.1 years in Mississippi and a high of 15.0 years in Hawaii, while HLE for 65-year-old females varied between a low of 11.4 years in Mississippi and a high of 17.3 years in Hawaii.
The CDC said HLE estimates can be used to predict future health service needs, evaluate health programs and identify trends and inequalities. Examining HLE as a percent of life expectancy can also reveal populations that might be enduring illness or disability for years.