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New life expectancy data no surprise given state rankings

Mississippi just can’t catch a break.

    Pick a health-related subject and it’s no surprise that recent lifeexpectancy statistics for the Magnolia State are what they are.

    From deaths due to cancer and heart disease to obesity, Mississippiscores high on the bad stuff and low in the categories suggestinggood health.

    A recent study by the online journal, Population Health Metrics,presented a county-by-county review of Mississippi life expectancytrends. Overall, while the nation’s average rose, this state’s lifeexpectancy rate fell during a recent seven-year period.

    There were county pockets of health prosperity, but reportobservers pointed out that many who are living longer lives are notdoing so here, after having left the state. And some who stay havethe means – financially or otherwise – to pursue healthierlifestyles that help lead to longer life.

    What’s left behind are the less affluent who are struggling to makeends meet and for whom health may be an unaffordable priority. Forothers, such as those who willingly continue to smoke, disregardinggood health care – and therefore life expectancy – may be aconscious decision.

    Mississippi leaders and cause advocates continue to expend dollarsand resources to address obesity, curb smoking and fight otherhealth-robbing habits and diseases. And some citizens, althoughstill not enough, are getting the message and taking up the fightagainst habits and bad choices that they can control.

    But clearly, more work needs to be done. “Live hard. Die young” isnot a motto to which this state should aspire.