Not a topic about religion or atheism. cbsnews.
A recently published study in the journal found that life expectancy for women fell significantly in 702 of the nation's more than 3,100 counties. For men, life expectancy dropped in 251 counties. In 158 counties, life expectancy dropped for both men and women.
The largest declines - by nearly two years - were in Mississippi's Madison County, near Jackson, and eastern Oklahoma's Hughes and Okfuskee Counties, for women. Kentucky's Perry County in Appalachia and Mississippi's Madison had the biggest drops for men.
the study is published here. populationhealthmetrics.
"Conclusions: The US has extremely large geographic and racial disparities, with some communities having life expectancies already well behind those of the best-performing nations. At the same time, relative performance for most communities continues to drop. Efforts to address these issues will need to tackle the leading preventable causes of death."
It would be interesting to juxtappose maps of life expectancy vs. maps of education, religion, and political demographics. My personal bias is that the areas with lower life expectancy would be more christian, more segregated, and less educated - but maybe that's just bias and not founded on reality.
I hear and see every day how lives are getting harder, people are either without jobs or working themselves to death, employers are becoming more harsh, and people are more desparate. Many houses around my average working class neighborhood are empty. Life expectancy is one more place where things are getting harder.
I like the idea of your proposed study, but not the reasoning behind it. Lower income people have a general victimization, lack of responsibility attitude. They blame their obesity (or other unhealthy habits) on heredity, culture, 'the times', stress, you name it. We all dig our own graves to some extent. I believe much more emphasis needs to be paid on health education in schools, but you can lead a camel to water, but can't make him drink. We should encourage critical thinking and responsibility in society and stop encouraging and rewarding victims and weakness.
My mother had open heart surgery at age 35 from a hereditary issue, so I studied health early on. When she got breast cancer at about 60, I studied health even more. When my brother had to have his gall bladder removed at age 35 because he ate McDonald's every workday for lunch, I studied more about diet and health. I am proactive. It was/is a CHOICE. Over 60% of all American illness is preventable. Help empower others by teaching them to empower themselves through self-education and critical self-analysis. Ignorance can be deadly.
When the best thing in your life is a Big Mac (often through no fault of your own), you tend to eat them.
When the state of Mississippi treats you like a dog because you're colored, underfunds your prenatal care, underfunds your schools, and denies you employment because you're colored (and, as we ALL know, racism is dead in the U.S), you're liable to make some poor choices.
Even in rich states, health education is considered a waste of time and money because it isn't tested in our now test-mad educational systems. Reading and math, reading and math.
I overlapped the map of religious adherence with the election, poverty, and graduation rate maps in photoshop and switched back and forth between each one. I can't really find any consistent correlation between religiosity and political party, poverty rate, and education, except that Mormons seem to have high graduation rates and low poverty rates. Democrats in the south seem to have higher poverty rates and lower life expectancies. They are also less religious than the Republican areas of their states.
Iowa and southern Minnesota are very religious, but have high graduation rates and low poverty and are pretty mixed politically.
It is interesting that the Appalachian area of Kentucky is very impoverished, but apparently not very religious. I wonder what qualifies a person as a "religious adherent". Belief in a deity? Going to church?
The two states I can think of which always come up short on the health studies are Mississippi and West Virginia. They also come up short in income, education, etc, etc. If it's a study on something bad, poor old Mississippi and WV come in as the very worse - except for crime. WV has a very low crime rate.
Poverty can cause lack of access to health care or adequate health care. If things can be treated early on or prevented, then a person will live longer. Plenty of people die of things that are completely curable due to lack of health care. For example, I knew two ladies who both got uterine cancer at about the same time in the 1970s. One only had Medicare which would only pay for morphine for her pain. She died rather quickly and painfully. The other had excellent health care, got all sorts of treatment and lived well past 90. If a person has health care, they're going to get that open heart surgery and live while the person without it is out of luck - they're going to die.
The better access to health care the longer people live - regardless of their personal habits. Some people live a very long time with very bad personal habits, because they can afford the doctors and medications to keep them going when someone else just dies.
I find it interesting that the lower Mississippi river basin is kind of nonreligious on the map, but very republican and short lived. That observation may not mean anything, but I was surprised at the decreased amount of religious adherence there. Further away from the river, religious adherence increases. Now to see if I can find a map of MacDonalds for additional research on this topic....
Oh, here's one. Why are so many of these statistical maps of the US from UK? Are they planning to invade? Find America's soft fast food underbelly where people are laying around sated on french fries, and strike our weakest place?
Here's another fast food map. Still no correlation. Damn.
Well, that doesnt correlate with the other maps, so I'll have to keep looking.