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Study shows varying rates of life expectancy among Kentucky counties

Eastern Kentucky has lowest average life spans

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 6, 2016) — The center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University has released a series of maps of the varying degrees of life expectancy in cities and states, including Kentucky. The Lexington Herald-Leader charted the statistics by county.

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Map by the Lexington Herald-Leader

The report listed reasons why some areas are more healthier than others:

  • Education and income are directly linked to health: Communities with weak tax bases cannot support high-quality schools and jobs are often scarce in neighborhoods with struggling economies.
  • Unsafe or unhealthy housing exposes residents to allergens and other hazards like overcrowding. Stores and restaurants selling unhealthy food may outnumber markets with fresh produce or restaurants with nutritious food.
  • Opportunities for residents to exercise, walk, or cycle may be limited, and some neighborhoods are unsafe for children to play outside.
  • Proximity to highways, factories, or other sources of toxic agents may expose residents to pollutants.
  • Access to primary care doctors and good hospitals may be limited.
  • Unreliable or expensive public transit can isolate residents from good jobs, health and child care, and social services.
  • Residential segregation and features that isolate communities (e.g., highways) can limit social cohesion, stifle economic growth, and perpetuate cycles of poverty.

Other cities and states mapped include: Atlanta; Chicago; Denver; Detroit; Las Vegas; Miami; New York; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Richmond, Va.; Raleigh-Durham; Mississippi; North Carolina; and the Inland Northwest.