4 Preventable Risk Factors Reduce U.S. Life Expectancy

A recent study finds that four risk factors -- smoking, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and obesity -- explain a substantial amount of the disparity in life expectancy amongst the "Eight Americas", which are groups of the U.S. population that can be defined by race, and location and socioeconomic features of counties they live in.

Together, these four risk factors are estimated to reduce life expectancy in the United States by 4.9 years in men and 4.1 years in women. The researchers calculate that disparities in life expectancy in the "Eight Americas" would decline by 20 percent if the four risk factors were reduced to optimal levels.

Smoking, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and obesity are preventable risk factors responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in the United States each year through chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers and diabetes.

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