East Hawaii News

CDC: Hawaii Residents Have Longest ‘Healthy Life Expectancy’

July 18, 2013, 9:56 AM HST
* Updated July 18, 10:03 AM
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Hawaii residents have the highest healthy life expectancy at age 65 in the country, according to the results of a study released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Aloha State residents 65 years old can expect another 16.2 years of healthy living, the CDC report said.

The lowest healthy life expectancy (HLE) was 10.8 years for those 65 living in Mississippi, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report said.

Residents of the South regardless of race, and blacks throughout the United States, have lower healthy life expectancy, it said.

For blacks, HLE was comparatively low throughout the US except in Nevada and New Mexico, the CDC said.

When it comes to gender, HLE was greater for females than for males in all states, with the difference ranging from 0.7 years in Louisiana to 3.1 years in North Dakota and South Dakota.

Also, HLE for males 65 years old varied from a high of 15.0 years in Hawaii to a low of 10.1 years in Mississippi; for females the high was 17.3 years in Hawaii and the low 11.4 years in Mississippi.

“Where you live in the United States shouldn’t determine how long and how healthy you live – but it does, far more than it should,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD.

“Not only do people in certain states and African-Americans live shorter lives, they also live a greater proportion of their last years in poor health,” Frieden said. “It will be important moving forward to support prevention programs that make it easier for people to be healthy no matter where they live.”

The report did not break down the data for ethnicities beyond blacks and whites.

“HLE estimates for Hispanics, Asians, and American Indians/Alaska Natives were not presented because sufficient reliable data were not available at the state level,” the report said.

The CDC used 2007-2009 data from the National Vital Statistics Systems, US Census Bureau, and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to calculate the healthy life expectancies.

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System is a telephone survey of non-institutionalized US civilian adults aged 18 years and older administered in all states. The question used to assess health status was, “Would you say that in general your health is excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor?”

For this study, participant responses of “fair or poor” were categorized as “unhealthy,” and “excellent, very good, or good” as “healthy,” the CDC said.

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