Poverty Reduces Life Expectancy About 10 Years
A new study shows that the wealthiest people in the United States live an average of seven to 10 years longer than the poorest people. For the study, researchers restructured all U.S. counties into new states—based not on geography, but on household income—and examined childhood poverty, obesity, smoking rates, and other health information, as well as longevity.
According to researchers, men living in the poorest areas died 10 years earlier than those living in the wealthiest areas—at an average age of 69—and women living in the poorest areas died 7 years earlier—at 76, on average—than those living in the wealthiest areas. The study showed that life expectancy for the poorest Americans is lower than the life expectancy in more than half of the countries in the world.
Lower life expectancies in the poor can be largely attributed to higher rates of smoking and obesity and the effects of childhood poverty. The study shows that people living in poverty are twice as likely to smoke and are 50 percent more likely to be obese than those who are better off. Also, more than 48 percent of children living in the poorest areas do not receive adequate resources to thrive.
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