Saturday, April 14, 2018

In 1990-2016, Ky. had 4th highest increase in risk of death, 2nd biggest rise in death risk from mental or substance-use disorders

By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

Life expectancy in Kentucky increased from 1990 to 2016, but by only 1.4 years, while it increased 4.4 years nationwide, so the state fell from 42nd to 46th in life expectancy, according to "the most extensive state-by-state U.S. health study ever conducted," as described by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. The institute conducted the study and published it in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The lagging life expectancy is driven largely by premature deaths, between age 20 and 55. From 1990 to 2016, the risk of premature death rose more than 10 percent in five states: West Virginia, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kentucky and Wyoming. Kentucky rose from 12th to seventh in the estimated years of life lost from premature death; states ranking ahead of it, in ascending order, were Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alabama, West Virginia and Mississippi.

The study compared the risk of death from various factors. The risk of death from mental and substance-use disorders increased more in Kentucky from 1990 to 2016 than any state but West Virginia, another indicator of the depth of the opioid epidemic in Central Appalachia. Ranked by years of life lost from various causes, opioid use rose nationally from 22nd in 1990 to to 15th in 2016. The age-standardized U.S. death rate from opioids rose 343 percent, far more than any other factor.
In overall life expectancy, several states fell much farther in the rankings than Kentucky did. Kansas fell to 30th, from 12th; Idaho dropped to 23rd from eighth; Indiana went to 42nd from 27th; and South Dakota fell to 25th from 11th.

The greatest gains in rank were by California, which moved up to second from 24th; New York, which rose to fifth from 39th; New Jersey, which moved to eighth from 26th; and Maryland, which is now 21st after being ranked 38th.

Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

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