Working-age adults in some states faced a 10 percent higher risk of premature death in 2016 than in 1990, say researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle. That’s one conclusion from the most comprehensive state-by-state study of U.S. health ever conducted.
According to the researchers, early death risk was highest in West Virginia, Mississippi, and Alabama, and lowest in Minnesota, California, New York, and several states in the Northeast over the study period. The research, part of the Global Burden of Disease study examining the effects of 333 diseases and injuries and 84 risk factors internationally between 1990 and 2016, suggests key factors driving the rising risk in adults 20 to 55 included substance abuse, suicide, and alcohol-related conditions.
Other findings include the following:
- Leading causes of premature death in 2016 included heart disease, lung cancer, and COPD. In 1990, motor vehicle accidents were the third leading cause of early death.
- Smoking rates had declined over the study period, but remained the No. 1 risk factor in 34 states in 2016.
- From 1990 to 2016, Alzheimer’s disease increased from the seventh leading cause of years of life lost to fourth, diabetes rose from 12th to 8th, and opioid use disorders rose from 11th to the 7th.