'Death by ZIP code': The link between health, wealth and geography | Arkansas Blog

'Death by ZIP code': The link between health, wealth and geography

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NBC NEWS
  • NBC News
A new study on causes of death in the U.S. says that residents of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi are most likely to succumb to diabetes, not surprising given the leading rates of obesity in these states.

Geography seems to be destiny in many ways. Kentucky and West Virginia lead in the rate of death by cancer, heart disease or drug overdose. The map also shows clusters of high cardiovascular-related deaths in Arkansas. This is a familiar theme.

A study in 2013 that
showed the U.S. was not exceptional when it comes to health compared with many other countries and that health was closely linked to wealth, with the shortest life expectancy in the poorest parts of the country, such as the rural South.

The article quotes Dr. Nancy Snyderman — "almost death by ZIP code." From the NBC account:

The biggest report in 15 years on the status of America’s health is getting a lot of attention today for its findings that Americans are not much healthier than we were a decade ago, and the fact that the U.S. is still far behind other wealthy nations when it comes to health.

What also jumps out in this report is American health and American wealth. The study authors did not mention economic conditions in their report, and making connections is complicated, but consider this:

The study found that people who live in a rich area like San Francisco, Colorado, or the suburbs of Washington, D.C. are likely to be as healthy as their counterparts in Switzerland or Japan, but those who live in Appalachia or the rural South are likely to be as unhealthy as people in Algeria or Bangladesh.


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