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What Women Can Expect

Patricia Sullivan

Very interesting report, article and talk about life expectancy for women dropping for the first time since the Spanish influenza of 1918.

The culprits are, at least in part, those old bugaboos, smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise. Or, as medical writer Dr. David Brown writes:

The trend appears to be driven by increases in death from diabetes, lung cancer, emphysema and kidney failure. It reflects the long-term consequences of smoking, a habit that women took up in large numbers decades after men did, and the slowing of the historic decline in heart disease deaths.

It may also represent the leading edge of the obesity epidemic. If so, women's life expectancy could decline broadly across the United States in coming years, ending a nearly unbroken rise that dates to the mid-1800s.

By Patricia Sullivan |  April 22, 2008; 11:35 AM ET  | Category:  Patricia Sullivan
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