US Life Expectancy Varies By Sex, Race/Ethnicity and Geography Interview with:
Dr. Benedict Truman
Associate Director for Science
CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Truman: In 2008, healthy life expectancy, which isthe number of years a person is expected to live in good or better health after a particular age, varied by sex, race/ethnicity and geographical regions in the United States. In each of four U.S. census regions, females were expected to live longer and healthier lives than males; non-Hispanic whites were expected to live shorter but healthier lives than Hispanics; and non-Hispanic whites were expected to live longer and healthier lives than non-Hispanic blacks.

Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Truman: Expected years of life at any age is greater for Hispanic persons than for non-Hispanic white persons. Therefore, a surprising finding of this study is that for people who are the same age, the expected years of healthy life remaining for Hispanics was less than that for Non-Hispanic white persons (Fig. 3).

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Truman: Clinicians should encourage patients to make healthier lifestyles choices, get recommended preventive services, and use high quality health care when needed. Patients should follow this advice to live longer and healthier lives.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Truman: Future research should identify the factors that lead to differences in healthy life expectancy based on sex, race/ethnicity, and geography. The effectiveness of interventions to address these factors also should be determined.


Chang MH1, Molla MT2, Truman BI1, Athar H3, Moonesinghe R4, Yoon PW3.
J Public Health (Oxf). 2014 Aug 30. pii: fdu059. [Epub ahead of print]


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