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Study: Percentage of women dying before age 75 rises

Older Adults (courtesy of promoteot.org)
Older Adults (courtesy of promoteot.org)

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Studies generally show that Americans are outliving their parents – but that’s not true for a lot of women.

A new UW-Madison study shows that the percentage of women dying before age 75 went up in 43 percent of all U.S. counties from 1992 through 2006. And in Wisconsin, those female death rates have risen in 19 of the state’s 72 counties.

Most are in the western half of the state, and in north central areas.

UW doctoral candidate Erika Cheng said her research team was shocked, because it’s generally assumed that people are living longer. But female death rates rose in 1,224 U.S. counties, while men’s death rates before 75 rose in just 108 counties – and none in Wisconsin.

So why are women dying sooner? Experts couldn’t say.

But according to the UW’s annual county health rankings, possible factors include lower-than-average education levels, higher rates of smoking and drinking, and traffic crash rates.

The UW’s David Kindig says the study proves that you can no longer assume the nation’s getting healthier just by looking at death rates for heart disease and cancer.