New study suggests women dying younger

June 15, 2011 2:04:36 PM PDT
A new study suggests that women across the United States are dying younger than they were a generation ago.

Nationwide, women's life expectancy in America is now just over 81 years old, putting us 35th in the world. Two big reasons for this decline include smoking and obesity.

The number of Americans who are classified as obese hit 34 percent in 2010, which is more than double the rate in 1980.

As for the areas of the country that have seen the biggest drop in average age - Madison County, Mississippi and parts of Eastern Oklahoma.

In fact, in Mississippi, the average life expectancy is only 65.9 years.

There is, however some good news for both women and men in our area. New York City, for example, which has pursued aggressive anti-smoking and anti-obesity campaigns, has among the higher life expectancies in the nation.

In Manhattan, the average woman's life expectancy is 83.7, and in Brooklyn, it is 82.3 years.

In a related health story, the nation's struggling economy is being blamed for a decline in birth rates. The CDC says the number of infants born dropped by 3 percent last year to little more than 4 million. This is the third year in a row that it has gone down.

Births had been on a steady increase - hitting an all time high in 2007.Experts believe the economy may have made people feel as if they can't afford to start or add to their family. The only increase in 2008 and 2009 was among women over 40.

Finally, have you ever been on a plane and the person sitting next to you is coughing or sneezing? A new study says the so-called "danger zone" for you is if that person is within two seats of you - this means the seats on either side of you, the two seats in front of you or the two seats behind you.

The researchers tracked people on two long flights to Australia. The risk of getting the flu was 7.7 percent for those seated within two seats of a sick person. That risk was cut in half for those within 2 rows. This means that the two big risk factors are how close the person is and how long the flight is.

If you are on a long flight it may be worth it to move.