The Washington Post just published an article titled “This Map of America’s Female Mortality Rates is Pretty Terrifying” and, unfortunately, the title just about sums up the graphics all too perfectly. The map, depicting whether female mortality rates are on the rise or improving by county, paints a frightening picture in which 43% of counties in the United States have rates of female Mortality are rising.<!–more–>
The map is part of a research article by David Kindig and Erika Cheng that was recently published in the journal Health Affairs.
“Although we are accustomed to seeing varying rates of mortality reduction in states and nations,” Kindig and Cheng write, “it is striking and discouraging to find female mortality rates on the rise in 42.8 percent of US counties, despite increasing medical care expenditures and public health efforts.”
Most interesting, the article suggests, is that Medical Care access is not associated with these rates. Instead they found that socioeconomic factors were most associated.
“Many people believe that medical care and individual behaviors such as exercise, diet, and smoking are the primary reasons for declines in health,” the authors write. “We did find significant associations between mortality rates and some of these factors, such as smoking rates for both sexes. But socioeconomic factors such as the percentage of a county’s population with a college education and the rate of children living in poverty had equally strong or stronger relationships to fluctuations in mortality rates.”
So, is the recession hitting not only our pockets but also our health or is this an indicator of a bigger issue for women in the United States? OR, is this simply information taken out of context? After all, what are the reasons for mortality in these cases? What is the situation for men? My guess is this is a cross gender issue, representing a larger situation impacting every aspect of our lives in the USA but you can decide for yourself…
Written By Georgianna Dolan-Reilly, LMSW
SJS Staff Writer
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