- Published in Health Affairs -

Population Well-Being Measures Help Explain Geographic Disparities In Life Expectancy At The County Level

Author(s): Anita Arora, Erica Spatz, Jeph Herrin, Carley Riley, Brita Roy, Kenneth Kell, Carter Coberley, Elizabeth Rula and Harlan M. Krumholz

Health Affairs_Dec2016.jpeg Objective:Geographic disparities in life expectancy are substantial and not fully explained by differences in race and socioeconomic status. To develop policies that address these inequalities, it is essential to identify other factors that account for this variation.
 

MethodsGeographic disparities in life expectancy are substantial and not fully explained by differences in race and socioeconomic status. To develop policies that address these inequalities, it is essential to identify other factors that account for this variation.

ResultsAt the county level, we found that for every 1-standard-deviation (4.2-point) increase in the well-being score, life expectancy was 1.9 years higher for females and 2.6 years higher for males. Life expectancy and well-being remained positively associated, even after race, poverty, and education were controlled for. In addition, well-being partially mediated the established associations of race, poverty, and education with life expectancy.

ConclusionsThese findings highlight well-being as an important metric of a population’s health and longevity and as a promising focus for intervention.

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Topics: Well-Being Population Well-Being