Moving the HME Industry Forward

General Healthcare

Healthy Life Expectancies Highest in Hawaii, Lowest in Mississippi

August 12, 2013

ATLANTA – Demand for HME may well be highest in the South according to a new report from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

According to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, residents of the South, regardless of race, and blacks throughout the United States, had lower healthy life expectancy (HLE) at age 65. HLE is defined by the CDC as a population health measure that estimates expected years of life in good health for people at a given age.

The CDC pegged Hawaii at the other end of the spectrum with the highest life expectancy (16.2 years after age 65). CDC used 2007-2009 data from the National Vital Statistics Systems, U.S. Census Bureau, and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to calculate HLEs by sex and race for each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., for all people aged 65 years.

“Where you live in the United States shouldn’t determine how long and how healthy you live – but it does, far more than it should,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. “Not only do people in certain states and African-Americans live shorter lives, they also live a greater proportion of their last years in poor health. It will be important moving forward to support prevention programs that make it easier for people to be healthy no matter where they live.”

The lowest HLE was in Mississippi (10.8 years). By race, HLE estimates for whites were lowest among Southern states. For blacks, HLE was comparatively low throughout the United States, except in Nevada and New Mexico. 

HLE was greater for females than for males in all states, with the difference ranging from 0.7 years in Louisiana to 3.1 years in North Dakota and South Dakota.

Other findings:
• HLE was greater for whites than for blacks in all states and Washington, D.C., that had sufficient data, except Nevada and New Mexico.
• HLE for males at age 65 years varied between a low of 10.1 years in Mississippi and a high of 15.0 years in Hawaii.
• HLE for females at age 65 years varied between a low of 11.4 years in Mississippi and a high of 17.3 years in Hawaii.

HLE estimates can predict future health service needs, evaluate health programs, and identify trends and inequalities. Furthermore, examining HLE as a percent of life expectancy can reveal populations that might be enduring illness or disability for years.