Asian Americans, including Indian Americans, enjoy the longest life expectancy of 84.9 years in the United States, a new study has found.
The study, conducted by the Harvard University's Initiative for Global Health and its School of Public Health, and published in the PloS Medicine magazine, divided the US into eight 'Americas' based on race, location, population density, per capita income and homicide rates.
Females among the Asian American community in Bergen County, New Jersey, enjoy the highest life expectancy of 91 years. Overall, Asian American females have a life expectancy of 86.7 years.
The 10.4 million strong, Asian Americans, with an average per capita annual income of $21,566, led the nearest group, the Northland low-income rural whites, by 5.9 years.
Third came the Middle Americans, who form the majority of the population in the US with 214 million, with a life expectancy of 77.9 years.
They were followed by low-income Whites in Appalachia and Mississippi (75 years), Western native Americans (72.7 years), Black middle Americans (72.9 years), Southern rural low-income Blacks (71.2 years) and high-risk urban Blacks (71.1 years).
A team of eight researchers led by Dr. Christopher J.L. Murray conducted the study.
It found that the gap between the highest and the lowest life expectancies for race-county combinations in the US is over 35 years.
The study had arranged the 3,141 counties in the US into 2,072 individual or merged county units. The race-county units were combined based on a number of socio-economic and geographical indicators, including the location of the county of residence, population density race-specific county-level per capita income, and cumulative homicide rate.
Native American males living in the Bennet, Jackson, Mellette, Shannon, Todd and Washabaugh Counties in South Dakota had a life expectancy of as low as 58 years.
The disparities were caused primarily by a number of chronic diseases and injuries with well-established risk factors, the researchers, who analysed data from the US Bureau of Census and the National Center for Health Statistics, stated.
The disparities in mortality across the eight Americas are enormous by all international standards, the study concluded.
It also pointed out that tens of millions of Americans are experiencing levels of health that are more typical of middle-income or low-income developing nations.
The study suggested that, since policies aimed at reducing fundamental socio-economic inequalities are currently practically absent in the US, health disparities will have to be at least partly addressed through public health strategies that reduce risk factors for chronic diseases and injuries.