Indiana Has One Of Lowest Life Expectancies For Poor People

12 Apr Indiana Has One Of Lowest Life Expectancies For Poor People

Map of Indiana.

Photo: TonelloPhotography (Shutterstock.com)

Map of Indiana.

Indiana is one of the three states with the lowest life expectancies for poor people, says a massive, high-profile study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study, which pulls data from tax and social security records, finds people with lower incomes live shorter lives than those who are more affluent — though to what extent is correlated with geography.

Indiana joins Nevada and Oklahoma as one of the three states with the lowest life expectancies for the poorest quarter of their populations.

In a ranking of the 100 most populous urban areas, Gary had the lowest life expectancy for the poorest 25 percent of its citizens, at 77 point four years, and Indianapolis had the third-lowest, at 77 point six years.

Additionally, in Indianapolis, the difference in how long people lived based on their income was remarkably high: the richest 25 percent lived on average eight-and-a-half years longer than the poorest 25 percent.

Speaking by Skype, the Director of Indiana University’s Center for Research on Health Disparities Lauren McCloskey, blames Indiana’s hands-off approach to providing welfare for the poor, particularly among children.

“Those conditions are setting the stage ultimately for poor health for obesity and ultimately truncated life expectancy,” McCloskey says.

The study’s authors closely tie life expectancy to so-called health behaviors, such as smoking and obesity – both are areas in which Indiana has historically unfavorable rankings.

“Some of these health behaviors are pervasive in the state and they are higher than some of the other states, not all, but many of the others,” McCloskey says.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1 in 4 Hoosiers smoke — the worst rate in the nation. Additionally, a recent Gallup poll indicates about one-third of Hoosiers are obese, landing Indiana on a list of the top ten fattest states in the nation.

The JAMA study also finds inequality in life expectancy increased in recent years, with the richest people seeing their lifespans extend while the poorest saw no change at all.

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