American Life Expectancy Varies Widely by County

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In America, where you live directly affects how long you will live — that’s according to a new study published in Wednesday’s journal of Population Health Metrics. Using data covering the years 1987 to 2007, researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle have found that while the nation’s life expectancy is at an all time high, more than 80 percent of counties in the country are lagging behind the top 10 nations when it comes to life expectancy.

But what is holding back our country, which spends more per-capita on health care than any other nation? For the answer we look to Virginia where, depending on the county which you live in, you could have a 14-point spread in life expectancy. That’s the widest gap of any state in the nation.  Dr. Diana Helentjaris, director of the Virginia Department of Health's Office of Family Health Services explains.