Life Expectancy Drops for Some U.S. Women, according to recent studies as reported in today’s Washington Post. And what does that mean afterall, especially in light of technology, advances in medical care, medicine, and all the news on healthy living? It means something is wrong, and as residents of SW Virginia, we need to do something.

12% of woman in the United States, now have a lower life expectancy – out of the 1000 counties studied, the most dramatic change occurred in two areas in southwestern Virginia (Radford City and Pulaski County), where women’s life expectancy has decreased by more than five years since 1983.

“The trend appears to be driven by increases in death from diabetes, lung cancer, emphysema and kidney failure. It reflects the long-term consequences of smoking, a habit that women took up in large numbers decades after men did, and the slowing of the historic decline in heart disease deaths. It may also represent the leading edge of the obesity epidemic. If so, women’s life expectancy could decline broadly across the United States in coming years, ending a nearly unbroken rise that dates to the mid-1800s ” reports the Post.

The study, being published in PLoS Medicine, an open-access journal of the Public Library of Science considers that around half of all deaths in the United States are attributable to a small number of “modifiable” behaviors and exposures, such as smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise.

“Although it is impossible to know exactly what is going on in the 1,000 counties, Murray thinks it “would be a reasonably obvious strategy” to target them for aggressive public health campaigns.”

OK – so let me start here Virginia. Stop smoking. Stop driving everywhere – exercise, take a walk, don’t take so many meds, don’t east so much fried food – PREVENTION is key. Radford City school are ahead of the trend, having eliminated all sugar from school meals and celebrations two years ago…. I would venture to say there is more we can do!

Lauren Ellerman
Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at