Study: Lifespan sank in hundreds of US counties -

Study: Lifespan sank in hundreds of US counties

ATLANTA (AP) -- Overall life expectancy in the U.S. is at an all-time high -- but not everywhere.  

A new study shows that in hundreds of U.S. counties -- mostly in the South -- life expectancy has fallen.  

The researchers believe problems like smoking and obesity are partly to blame.  

The study is in the online journal, Population Health Metrics.  

The largest declines -- by nearly 2 years -- were in Mississippi's Madison County, near Jackson, and the adjacent Hughes and Okfuskee counties in eastern Oklahoma.  

Life expectancy dropped for men in 251 counties. It dropped for both men and women in 158 counties.  

A federal expert says the results aren't very surprising since statistics fluctuate when dealing with smaller populations.  

The government says a baby born in 2009 could expect to live 78 years and 2 months.

 (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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