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New Study Shows Life Expectancy Is Declining In Kentucky


A new study shows eight counties in Kentucky have seen the largest decline of life expectancy in the nation over a 34-year time period. Those eight counties are concentrated in southeastern Kentucky.

Owsley County saw the largest drop in life expectancy in the nation, with people living 2-point-3 less years in 2014 than they did in 1980. The study attributes the decline to poverty, obesity, smoking and a lack of access to health care.

Owsley County Judge-Executive, Cale Turner, wasn’t surprised by the findings. He points to drug abuse and a historic lack of access to health care to explain the study’s results.

The other Kentucky counties that saw huge declines in life expectancy are Lee, Leslie, Breathitt, Clay, Powell, Estill, and Perry.

The study was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.”


Becca Schimmel is a Becca Schimmel is a multimedia journalist with the Ohio Valley ReSource a collaborative of public radio stations in Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio. She's based out of the WKU Public Radio newsroom in Bowling Green.
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