Home > Rural lifestyle > Life expectancy decreasing for rural Humboldt County women

Life expectancy decreasing for rural Humboldt County women

Female longevity is on the decline in 561 rural counties across the US, including Humboldt County, according to a University of Washington study. Yet life expectancy is rising neighboring counties. What could be the difference?

  1. SNaFU
    June 21, 2011 at 12:49 am

    E Z access to MJ~!

  2. Walt
    June 21, 2011 at 6:10 am

    Increased ingestion of steroids (among other sources there are six anabolic steroids given, in various combinations, to nearly all animals entering conventional beef feedlots in the U.S. and Canada:

    * Three natural steroids (estradiol, testosterone, and progesterone), and
    * Three synthetic hormones (the estrogen compound zeranol, the androgen trenbolone acetate, and progestin melengestrol acetate);

    Increased cell phone use (teen females, who are more social with their phones, average about 753 minutes per month, while males use around 525 minutes);

    Increased ingestion of caffeine (the effects of caffeine were studied in a group of adolescents in the age group of 12 to 17 years. The cardiovascular status and effect on intake of food was assessed after administration of various increasing doses of caffeine. The heart rate was found to decrease and diastolic blood pressure was seen to increase. Caffeine intake also promoted further consumption of high-calorie food.

    Along with males, higher meth use.

    Just a few suggestions.

  3. Mitch
    June 21, 2011 at 6:55 am

    The study is available via this link:
    http://www.pophealthmetrics.com/content/9/1/16/abstract

    I’m copying the “Interpretation of Findings” section here:

    While documenting the pace of relative global decline and rising disparities is novel and may surprise some, the quantitative findings based on national data will be disputed by few. In contrast, interpreting how the US came to be in this position and what to do about it will continue to be vigorously debated. We believe it is worthwhile to examine the explanations that
    may help inform potential solutions, a debate that may take a long time to be resolved. While this debate continues, we believe there is sufficient evidence to identify some practical actions that can, in part, reverse this trend. The debate on the causes of poor performance will focus on three
    sets of factors: the social, cultural, and physical environment; modifiable behaviors, diet, and metabolic risk factors; and the performance of the health system. The roles of these factors are, of course, not mutually exclusive, as the same death can be related to social and material deprivation, risk factor exposure, and the failure of the health system.

    Strong relationships have been documented between race/ethnicity, individual or community income, income inequality, and mortality in the US. While these factors convincingly affect mortality, they do not fully capture the performance variation in the US. Americans in counties with above median income ranged from being 16 years ahead of the frontier to 47 years behind.

    Moreover, between 2000 and 2007, 85% of these counties fell further behind the international life expectancy frontier. These findings confirm at the local level similar observations found for advantaged groups nationally [38]. Any analysis of causes of disparities will draw substantial
    attention to poverty, inequality, race, and ethnicity, but some of the poor performance and falling performance must be related to other factors [3].
    How much of the poor performance of the US is due to differences or less favorable trends in critical risks to health such as tobacco smoking, hypertension, diabetes, physical inactivity, obesity, LDL cholesterol, diet, and alcohol? At the national level, these risk factors together lead
    to close to one million premature deaths [39]. If the leading four risk factors were addressed (smoking, high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose, and adiposity), life expectancy in 2005 would increase 4.9 and 4.1 years, respectively, for males and females. Disparities across eight
    race-county groupings would reduce by approximately 20% [39]. Given that risk factor
    exposures vary by county, and based on evidence from state-level analysis that risk factor
    exposures are larger in places with higher mortality rates [40-42], we would expect that
    addressing these risk factors would also tend to narrow disparities. An analysis that takes into
    account county exposures will be critical to fully understand the potential to reduce disparities
    – 14 –
    through preventable causes of death. This, however, will require improving the measurement of
    exposure to leading risk factors at the local level.
    How much better would the US and US counties perform if the US had had a high-performance
    health system? The answer rests on three dimensions that inherently underlie any analysis of
    health systems. First, over what duration do we assess a high-performance health system? If
    performance over a long duration is considered, then causes such as tobacco, road traffic injuries,
    and HIV might have been largely prevented or substantially mitigated. A shorter duration
    perspective, on the other hand, assigns a more limited scope and role to health system
    performance. Second, a high-performance health system could not have taken action until the
    scientific basis for action was established. Until tobacco was demonstrated to be a hazard, one
    cannot blame the health system for not taking action. Third, once the scientific basis of actions
    was established, to what extent should a high-performance health system have taken action?
    Once tobacco consumption was identified as a major risk in the 1950s and 1960s, should a high-
    performance health system have pursued all means to reduce consumption? Or should it have
    only provided information, taxed tobacco, or banned smoking in public places? Many of the
    debates on the extent to which the US health system is to blame for poor outcome performance
    turn on the scope and intensity of science-based action, which have an ideological dimension.
    Some in the US favor a narrow view of the duration and scope of action for a high-performance
    health system. These proponents emphasize treatment of disease or pharmacological
    management of risks. Others take a broader view [43]. Forging a consensus view on mortality
    attributable to a low-performance health system may be challenging.
    What can be done to address the poor – and worsening – national and local performance of US
    communities? The US health care reform debate has focused on three strategies: extend
    – 15 –
    insurance to all, improve quality of medical care for those who get sick, and focus on preventable
    causes of death [3]. Published studies estimate that 44,789 deaths out of 2,401,584 over age 18 in
    2005 are attributable to a lack of health insurance [44,45]. These figures may be underestimated
    by not taking into account the fact that insurance coverage is lowest in communities with the
    highest mortality rates. Even taking into account such underestimation, the number of deaths
    attributable to lack of insurance is dramatically too small to explain much of the poor
    international performance and disparities in the US.
    Quality of care for disease events varies substantially across the US [46,47]. An extensive
    literature highlights differences in quality as a function of race/ethnicity, income, and geography
    [5,46,47]. Improvements in quality would certainly have an impact on national life expectancy
    and on disparities, but there are few studies that have quantified these effects. Comparisons for
    specific outcomes, including breast and prostate cancer survival and acute myocardial infarction,
    suggest that the US, on average, has higher quality than many of the countries with better health
    outcomes [48,49]. Better outcomes for cancer may be influenced by the nonrepresentativeness of
    the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) cancer registration system and the
    concentration of some cancers in ages over 65 with near universal health insurance through
    Medicare [50,51]. For other conditions such as diabetes, however, the US has worse outcomes in
    some studies [52]. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
    quality indicators project [53] is attempting to generate comparable measures for 541 indicators,
    but to date, the data have been plagued with definitional and measurement issues. To put quality-
    of-care issues in full light, we argue that a more comprehensive attempt to assess mortality
    attributable to low quality of care in the US and the impact of low quality of care on disparities
    should be undertaken.
    – 16 –
    Addressing leading preventable causes of death could dramatically improve the international
    performance of a large fraction of US counties for both males and females. What can the US
    health system do to realize these potential health improvements? Risks can be divided into those
    requiring concerted national action or community action or those that can be addressed through
    primary care. National, state, or even local policies [54] may be effective for banning trans-fat
    and regulating salt in packaged and prepared food, tobacco and alcohol taxes and control,
    increasing financial and physical access to healthier diets such as omega-3 fatty acids and fruits
    and vegetables, and authorizing the use of incentives by employers, insurers, and others for risk
    factor modification. Community intervention may be important for promoting physical activity
    and tailoring screening for hypertension, blood sugar, and cholesterol to local culture and
    context. Expanded and enhanced primary care can be the key locus for more aggressive
    management of hypertension, cholesterol, blood sugar, and personalized interventions for
    tobacco and alcohol. Major limitations to prioritize preventable causes of death include the need
    for more primary care physicians [55,56] and implementation of research efforts to improve
    adherence. A health system push on preventable causes of death would not be easy, but it is a
    target that is technically possible and could make a major impact on US health and life
    expectancy rates at the national and local levels.
    What could motivate people, communities, and providers to have an increased focus on
    preventable causes of death? Some risks can be tackled through national legislation, such as
    banning trans-fat in manufactured foods or increasing federal taxation on tobacco. However, we
    believe the combination of measurement, incentive-based financing, and local innovation will
    also be essential. Local measurement of the baseline level of key risks and their trends can help
    set priorities and evaluate performance. Given the diversity of demography, epidemiology,
    – 17 –
    physical infrastructure, and health system organization at the local level, a single national
    solution may not be the most effective for all risks. What will work to increase the effective
    coverage of hypertension management in Native Americans on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud
    reservations and in Hispanic communities in Miami may be very different. Local innovation for
    addressing some preventable causes of death can be harnessed by using national and state
    funding to pay communities for risk reduction. The experience of the GAVI Alliance is
    instructive. Results-based financing is feasible, but it is imperative that measurement is
    undertaken independent of those with a stake in the results [57]. Given the poor performance of
    the US on health outcomes, a performance that is worsening each year, it is time for new
    thinking targeted to where the biggest impact can be made on health outcomes.

  4. tomfranks@aol.com
    June 21, 2011 at 7:17 am

    They need to make everything legal, drugs, alcohol, ect. MAKE IT LEGAL.

  5. High Finance
    June 21, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Yeah tomfranks, that would really help increase life longevity. Yes tomfranks, I’m being sarcastic.

    Obesity, drugs and inactivity. The breakdown of the American family causes more depression and more use of the above.

  6. Anonymous
    June 21, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Uh, pretty sure we could be talking about a handful of females affecting the apparent significance of the trend.

  7. Mitch
    June 21, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Anonymous 9:48,

    I posted a link to the study in hopes of reducing the size of the likely stream of comments like yours.

    Please read the study and then point out the ways you believe the researchers were misled by “a handful of females.” They explain their methods very clearly. You are, of course, welcome to disagree with their methods or their results… just let us know which.

    That way, we don’t have to pretend that you’re being “pretty sure” about the “apparent significance of the trend” counts for anything. You can actually persuade us by pointing to their errors.

    Fox News viewers, I apologize.

  8. Joel Mielke
    June 21, 2011 at 10:23 am

    “The breakdown of the American family”?

    My, how original, HiFi.

  9. tra
    June 21, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Hmmmm….The headline for this post says:

    Life expentancy decreasing for rural Humboldt County women

    But the post itself just says:

    Female longevity is on the decline in 561 rural counties across the US, including Humboldt County, according to a University of Washington study.

    There’s a big difference between what the headline is claiming and what the post says. The headline claims that the life expectancy decrease is for “rural Humboldt County women,” but the post just says that the decrease is for women in Humboldt County as a whole. So, which is it?

    The headline seems to imply that it is just the women living in the rural parts of Humboldt County who are experiencing the decrease in life expectancy, whereas those in urban and suburban parts of the county excluded from that by the way the headline is worded. But that’s not what the post itself says, it says that the women living in Humboldt County in general are experiencing the decrease.

    Innocent mistake, or more “Healthy Humbolt”-style propaganda aimed at convincing us that rural living is inherently “unhealthy”?” Either way, unless there is a direct comparison between the women living in the rural parts of the county and the women living in the urban and suburban areas of the county, then the claim made in the headline is misleading at best.

    By the way, although Humboldt is listed as a “rural” county (which I assume is because of overall average population density), the current redistricting efforts make make it quite clear that a large majority of the people in who live in Humboldt County actually live in the urban and suburban areas. Which means that most of the women experiencing the decrease in longevity are probably living in urban and suburban settings, not in rural settings.

  10. High Finance
    June 21, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Joel, more single parent families and more divorces causes more poverty, stress and depression upon parents.

    Of course it would affect life expectancy.

  11. tra
    June 21, 2011 at 10:53 am

    At any rate, the fact that women’s life expectancies in Humbolt, and other “rural counties” are falling is certainly bad news. Of course most “rural counties” also have lower median incomes than, for example, “suburban counties.” I wonder how much of the difference is accounted for simply by lower income, lack of health insurance and lack of access to health care? It would be interesting to see whether women in lower-income urban areas are also seeing a decrease in life expectancy due to the poor economy, high unemployment, and increasing number of uninsured and underinsured people?

    And of course the obvious question is, why women and not men? I assume part of the answer to that last question is that tobacco smoking rates have been dropping for men, but rising (or maybe just not dropping as fast?) for women in recent decades, so that the percentage of women and men who smoke is getting closer to even than it used to be. But I also suspect that women often being paid less than men, even for the same jobs, (and more part-time jobs without paid health benefits) probably plays a role here, as does the fact that women still shoulder more of the burden when it comes to child-rearing and homemaking. There is no question that stress takes years off of peoples’ lives, and women are both working more in previously male-dominated jobs that can be stressful and/or dangerous, while at the same time also continuing to have more responsibility (and therefore more stress) in the home.

    The ongoing cuts to the social safety net for the poor (a disproportionate number of whom are women) is probably also a significant factor, and with regard to the difference between “rural counties” and other counties, rural counties tend to be more Republican / Conservative, so it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that the social safety net in those counties has been cut more drastically (of course Humboldt is the exception to the rule, being heavily Democratic, and somewhat “progressive,” so that explanation doesn’t apply here).

  12. Mitch
    June 21, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Rural or urban, America’s health care system has problems. For example, at least one person in North Carolina thought his best approach to obtaining health care was to rob one dollar from a bank:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/21/verone-one-dollar-robbery-healthcare

    US man stages $1 bank robbery to get state healthcare

    Unemployed and without health insurance, man in North Carolina has himself arrested in order to receive treatment…

  13. tra
    June 21, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Joel, more single parent families and more divorces causes more poverty, stress and depression upon parents. Of course it would affect life expectancy.

    I think that’s probably true in general, but I guess the question would be why they found more of an effect in “rural counties?” Are folks in rural counties divorcing more and having more single parent families than folks in more suburban or urban counties? Seems unlikely.

    By the way, in many cases remaining in a dysfunctional marriage and/or trying to raise kids with a dysfunctional partner…well that can be pretty darn stressful, too.

  14. Goldie
    June 21, 2011 at 11:38 am

    To quote the story:If the leading four risk factors were addressed (smoking, high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose, and adiposity), life expectancy in 2005 would increase 4.9 and 4.1 years, respectively, for males and females.
    I had to look up ‘adiposity’ and it is a way to measure body fat.
    If one was to park in the Winco lot you would see different body types than if you parked in the Eureka Natural Foods parking lot. What we eat is very tribal,cultural. I saw a little girl in Winco, maybe she was 5 or 6. She was so over weight she would sit down on the ground every time her mother or grandmother walked away from her. Their language to her was harsh. Their cart was full of package and prepared foods, sodium and sugar rich.
    It is not just lack of funds but the choices that are made due to culture and habit and skills. AND laws that allow so many nonfood ingredients in our food products.

  15. Not A Native
    June 21, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Thanks for the excerpt Mitch, certainly puts The data seem factual, but people like tra apply their already held prejudices to this result. He blithely ignores the data: ‘Americans in counties with above median income ranged from being 16 years ahead of the frontier to 47 years behind”.

    Making sweeping pronouncements of this or that cause in HumCo is purely an excercise in expressing ones bias. The study points out that more detailed cause of death data is needed to begin to make conclusions, though known risk factors, like Goldie points out, are very likely to be a part of the answer.

    Heck, I’ll suggest another biased possibility. People move to or remain in rural places because they have more chronic maladies than average and rural(low population density) places offer greater opportunity for their maladies to be more socially tolerated. Especially psychological and intellectual ones. Those maladies ultimately reduce life expectancy, through a variety of mechanisms.

  16. longwind
    June 21, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    And since 70 percent of Humboldt’s population lives within a half-dozen miles of Humboldt Bay between McKinleyville and Fortuna, and we have only countwide figures to judge ourselves by, it’s clearly those micropolitan urban slobs who ruin the reps of the rest of us actual rural denizens, who live in country virtue. Sweeping Pronouncements R Us!

  17. tra
    June 21, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    The data seem factual, but people like tra apply their already held prejudices to this result. He blithely ignores the data: ‘Americans in counties with above median income ranged from being 16 years ahead of the frontier to 47 years behind”.

    (1) There is always a range in any set of data, that’s just the highest point and the lowest point, so your statement proves exactly nothing. A statement about the median and/or the mean might be more meaningful.

    (2) Median income is only one of the factors that I mentioned. No doubt more than one factor is involved, and the most important factors may well vary from region to region. For example, in some areas positive health effects due to higher income may be offset by negative health effects due to greater air pollution. In other areas, positive health effects due to lower rates of air pollution may be offset by lack of access to health care facilities (including health care facilities that offer health care specific to women’s needs, in particular reproductive health care).

    Heck, I’ll suggest another biased possibility. People move to or remain in rural places because they have more chronic maladies than average and rural(low population density) places offer greater opportunity for their maladies to be more socially tolerated. Especially psychological and intellectual ones. Those maladies ultimately reduce life expectancy, through a variety of mechanisms.

    I’m glad you ackowledged your bias, because there seems to be at least one fatal flaw with that theory: If your theory was true, why would the decrease in life expectancy only apply to women, and not also to men?

    And, by the way, I notice that you seem to be accepting the premise of the blatantly misleading headline, which claims that “Rural Humboldt Women” are the ones experiencing the decreased longevity, whereas it looks like the study does not distinguish between women who live in urban and suburban areas within “rural counties,” and women who live in areas that are actually rural. And the indisputable fact about Humboldt’s population is that a large majority of the population lives in the more densely-populated urban and suburban areas, not on farms or way out in the hills.

    Given the distribution of the population, the lifespans of the women living in Humboldt in areas that are actually rural would have to be staggeringly, radically lower than the lifespans of women living in Humboldt’s cities and suburbs in order to bring the average down significantly. So the factors that are decreasing the lifespans of women in Humbolt must include some factors that apply both to women who live in rural areas, and women who live in urban and suburban areas within the county.

    The bottom line is that this study shows that women in Humboldt County are experiencing a decrease in lifespans, it does not show that rural living causes lower lifespans than urban or suburban living. Maybe it does, but there is no evidence for this in the data as presented here. “Life Expectancy Decreasing for Rural Humboldt County Women” is a completely misleading headline for this article, a conveniently misleading headline for those who for some reason have a deep-seated bias against rural living and a burning desire to portray rural residents as unhealthy due to their place of residence.

    If the headline said “Life Expectancy is Decreasing for Women Who Live in Rural Counties” that would be accurate, or if the headline said “Life Expectancy Decreasing for Humboldt County Women,” that, too would be accurate. For some reason Heraldo chose instead to use a misleading headline that implies that the life expectancy decrease only applies to women in Humboldt County who actually live in rural areas. Not only is that inaccurate, it’s a disservice to the majority of women in Humboldt, who live in the urban and suburban areas of the county, and whose lifespans may also be shrinking. For all we know, it’s entirely possible that the lifespans of women in the urban and suburban areas of the county may be shrinking even more than those who live in the areas of the county that are actually rural. This study doesn’t tell us which portion of the county’s women are experiencing more loss of lifespan, or whether there is any difference at all between those women who live in areas that are actually rural and those women who live in more densely-populated parts of the county. But I guess perhaps that isn’t as important as scoring some propaganda points in the effort to protray rural living as inherently unhealthy?

  18. Plain Jane
    June 21, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Getting outside and enjoying this glorious day will increase your longevity.

  19. tra
    June 21, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    True dat!

  20. Decline To State
    June 21, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Thank you Jane, sound advice.

    I suspect that the dropping life expectancy can be directly related to how prosperous an area is. The wealthier the citizenry the longer the life expectancy. I like to see some numbers.

  21. tra
    June 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    DTS,

    I think that’s probably an important factor, but it doesn’t explain why life expectancy is decreasing for women in these counties, and not for men.

    One thing I agree with NAN on is that

    …more detailed cause of death data is needed to begin to make conclusions.

    Also, if you really wanted to know whether “rural” women are actually the ones experiencing the loss of longevity (as Heraldo’s rather misleading headline claims) you’d need more detailed demographic info, including a breakdown by zip code or census tract or something like that, rather than just lumping everyone in the county together as “rural” even though most people in this county actually live in urban and suburban settings.

  22. Not A Native
    June 21, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Decline to State, your suspicion is disproved by the data. Actually reading(and comprehending) Mitch’s excerpt might be useful to you(or not). The numbers are there. But like others here, its a no brainer to merely air your preconceived biases while blithely ignoring the data. Thats so Humboltian of you !

  23. Not A Native
    June 21, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    The entire HumCo is rural, by the definition used in the study this thread references. Rural isn’t an issue.

    tra may invent his own definition of rural to advance his personal political agenda. But repeating it over and over ad nauseum doesn’t make it it accurate, legitimate, scientific, or acceptable. Of course, his real problem is with the county health officer’s report which documented the relative poor health status of people who live at far removes. And of course, the economic studies that show those people also create higher percapita public costs.

  24. Sinclair Lewis
    June 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Wow, Siskiyou, Modoc, even Del Norte is doing better than Humboldt. Who’d have figured that?

  25. tra
    June 21, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Actually, NAN, the section excerpted by Mitch contains clear support for the idea that income disparity is a major factor in life expectancy, just not the only factor:

    Strong relationships have been documented between race/ethnicity, individual or community income, income inequality, and mortality in the US. While these factors convincingly affect mortality , they do not fully capture the performance variation in the US.

    Get it? The race/ethnicity and income factors do not fully capture the performance variation, in other words those “strong relationships” which “convincingly affect mortality” explain a good deal of the variation, just not all of it.

    By the way, the article also notes that “The rural residents with the greatest life expectancy live largely in resort communities” which, again, suggests that income and wealth are significant factors.

    And, as I noted above, you highlighted the “range” in the life expectancy in different affluent areas, but as anyone who knows even a little bit about statistics could tell you, “range” doesn’t tell you anything about where most people fall in the distribution, it’s just the high and the low. Median and mean are much more meaningful in terms of describing the overall distribution, and that’s where the “strong relationships” are found.

    Looks like you’re the one “blithely ignoring” the data, and misinterpreting the findings, which, in any event, apply to Humboldt County women as a whole, and not “rural” Humboldt County women as Herado’s headline inaccurately suggests. Preconceived notions, indeed!

  26. wurking stiff
    June 21, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    long wind seems to be full of shit since he is making sweeping pronouncements based on NO FACTS or data. Maybe he is right & maybe not, but he certainly doesn’t know any more than me whether he is right.

    Dude, are you a Republican– they use the same tactics of making sweeping pronouncements that are not backed up by anything but their bloviated opinions.

  27. tra
    June 21, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    The entire HumCo is rural, by the definition used in the study this thread references. Rural isn’t an issue. tra may invent his own definition of rural to advance his personal political agenda.

    That’s quite laughable. Yes, Humboldt is, overall, considered a “rural County” because of the overall ratio of landmass to population. No problem there. The problem arises when the word “rural” is lifted from the phrase “rural counties” and misapplied to modify the phrase “Humboldt County women.”

    Heraldo inaccurately and misleadingly entitled the post “Life Expectancy Decreasing for Rural Humboldt County Women” which implies that it is decreasing for some Humboldt County women (those living in the rural parts of the county) but not for others (those living in the urban and suburban areas). That’s not what the data shows, because the data doesn’t differentiate between Humboldt County women who live in the cities and suburbs and those who live out in the countryside. The headline, as written, offers false reassurance to women who live in Humboldt’s cities and suburbs, and unjustified alarm to women who live in the areas of our county that are actually “rural” by any common sense definition.

    An accurate headline for this article would have simply been “Life Expectancy Decreasing for Humboldt County Women.” The only problem with that is that the accurate headline wouldn’t score propaganda points for those who so desperately want to believe that living in cities and suburbs is “healthier.” So, accuracy had to give way to propaganda spin…sad, but not surprising.

    It’s beyond silly to say that I’m “inventing my own definition of rural” by noting that a woman who lives in a city or a suburb is not usually regarded as a “rural resident” just because there are rural areas outside the city or suburb where she lives. By that standard, since Georgia has a lot of rural land, then a woman who has lived her whole life in Atlanta would be a “rural Georgia resident.” Ridiculous.

    The bottom line is that there are some factors, as yet undetermined, that are leading to a reduction of womens’ life expectancy in Humboldt County, and this study provides no evidence whatsoever that it has anything to do with the “ruralness” of the residences of the Humboldt County women who are living shorter lives.

    In fact, since the population of Humboldt County is continuing to become more urban and suburban, the fact that female life expectancy is, at the same time, declining, suggests just the opposite. As we are becoming more urban and suburban, our women are living shorter lives. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.

  28. Not A Native
    June 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    The question in this thread isn’t theoretical, its about HumCo and the specific data show lowering women’s life expectancies here. During the study period, there’s been little change in local economic conditions, according to the HSU Economic Index.

    So no basis exists to invoke local economics as the cause of women’s reduced lifespans. Unless that is, tra agrees with Ann Lindsey that the most impoverished people in HumCo are those who live furthest away from public services. And they have differentially become more impoverished in the last decade due to reductions in availability and access to public assistance.

  29. tra
    June 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    wurking stiff,

    Did you somehow miss the last sentence of longwind’s post, where he says “Sweeping Pronouncements R Us?”

    Clearly he was making a joke about how sweeping generalizations can be made in either direction, and how both types of sweeping generalizations would be equally unsupported by the data presented in the article that this post refers to.

  30. tra
    June 21, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    During the study period, there’s been little change in local economic conditions, according to the HSU Economic Index. So no basis exists to invoke local economics as the cause of women’s reduced lifespans.

    I think that’s a fair point, furthermore, and as I stated above, while life expectancy is clearly very strongly related to economic status in general, that wouldn’t explain why it is only women’s life expectancy that is falling –unless it was only women’s incomes, or the incomes of households headed by women, that have been falling (or failing to keep up with inflation in housing, transportation, and other living costs) Have women’s incomes in Humboldt been falling in relation to the cost of living, and if so, have they been falling faster than men’s? Or because their incomes or net worths were already lower than men’s has any decrease caused them to more quickly reach a “breaking point” where health and longevity is significantly affected? Are some of the cutbacks in social programs a significant factor in reducing the well-being of women in Humboldt County? I don’t know. It seems to me that these are possibilities, but obviously some hard data would be needed to reach a conclusion on whether any of those dynamics might be significant factors in cointributing to this very worrisome trend.

    As I stated in my 6:08 comment “The bottom line is that there are some factors, as yet undetermined, that are leading to a reduction of womens’ life expectancy in Humboldt County.” I agree that more data is needed, both demographic data and actual cause-of-death data to reach any firm conclusions.

    But one thing that is perfectly clear is that, despite the (intentionally?) misleading headline at the top of this post, none of the data presented in the article suggests that “Rural Humboldt County Women” are experiencing this reduction of lifespan any more than “Urban and Suburban Humboldt County Women.”

    As discussed in a previous thread, the vast majority of Humboldt County’s population growth over the past decade has taken place not in the rural countryside of the County, but in the cities and the suburbs — with Fortuna, McKinleyville and the Cutten area suburbs accounting for the bulk of the population growth.

    So, again, I submit to you that we have two trends happening here simultaneously: (1) A larger proportion of Humboldt County’s population is living in urban and suburban areas, and (2) Women in Humboldt County are living shorter lives. Does that prove that the urbanization and suburbanization is causing the shorter lifespans? No, of course it does not. But it does suggest, rather strongly, that the drop in women’s life expectancy is not at all likely to be attributable to any significant degree to the “rural lifestyle” that some folks seem so anxious to blame.

    If living in a rural residence was actually less healthy for women than residing in an urban or suburban residence, then as we have seen the proportion of the population living in rural areas within the County drop, and the proportion of the population living in urban and suburban areas within the County rise, we should be seeing an increase in women’s longevity in Humboldt…and yet this article shows that we’re seeing just the opposite.

  31. tra
    June 21, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Aw crap, I missed a “close italics” tag in the third paragraph. Sorry ’bout that.

  32. Not A Native
    June 21, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    But then gee tra, men are living longer. So your logic should posit that men who live at far removes aren’t experiencing those longer lifespans, only the close in ones are. Problem is, your whole viewpoint is screwed up because you myopically frame everything as part of your political agenda issue, conflict of ‘city’ and country’ folk, and it’s all bogus. The whole county is rural and undifferentiated within these studies. Any finer gradation of the data requires more information, not the prejudiced biases you’re trotting out. Reason I claim you’re heavily into pot is because the kind of nonsense thinking you continually display(and at great and increasing length) is evocative of the local habitual stoners on their soapboxes: harping on the same point over and over, convinced their personal certainty alone is sufficient to ensure its correctness.

  33. Decline To State
    June 21, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Decline to State, your suspicion is disproved by the data. Actually reading(and comprehending)…

    NaN, obviously I don’t have your amazing cognitive powers. I’m sorry but that seemingly endless blah, blah, blog blah spewed from tra does not impress me all that much. Too many words. Indeed, how Humboldt of me. Damn I hate my “supposing” the causes for this phenomena being so overwhelmingly disproved by his “data.” Nowhere in this info did I read that males aren’t keeping pace with the females. Gotta work on that “comprehension” thing. Good tip.

  34. Anonymous
    June 21, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Well if you had a DA who would hold fully accountable wife murderers and sexual assault perps maybe the level would be different. Oh no. We can’t count that.

  35. tra
    June 21, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    NAN,

    Here’s a simple question, see if you can answer it directly: Given the fact that the cited study does not differentiate between rural and urban/suburban residents within the county, and given that it’s findings about the decreasing life expectancy for women applies to the county as a whole, which would be the more accurate and less misleading headline for this post?

    (a) Life Expectancy Decreasing for Humboldt County Women.

    or

    (b) Life Expectancy Decreasing for Rural Humboldt County Women.

  36. skippy
    June 21, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Totally Reasonable, Again.

  37. tra
    June 21, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Thanks, skippy, but sometimes I’m also

    Too Repetitive, Admittedly.

    ;)

  38. Not A Native
    June 22, 2011 at 1:48 am

    My answer tra is that the wording of this thread’s caption is trivial and inconsequential. It appears crafted purely for the purpose of drawing attention by being provocative. What your political self absorption blinds you to is it uses redundancy to poke fun at HumCo ‘sophisticates'(i.e. What do you mean ‘rural’ Humboldt women? What other kind are there?). At worst, it merits an observation that it emulates a tabloid.

    Only an obsessive and paranoid mind(likely addled by repeated infusions of THC) could imagine its a deep, dark, and sinister code intended to rouse the populace to fan out into the hills to cast out the deficients by forcibly expelling every remote living person from their domicile. Your fixation on this caption shows lack of reason, akin to tinfoil hat certainty about cellular towers as mind control, HIV as a eugenics project, and water flouridation as a program for citizen passification.

  39. tra
    June 22, 2011 at 7:28 am

    The answer is (a).

    But your evasive reply is, in itself, quite revealing of your own mindset. Same old ad hominem attacks — stale, repetitive, and laughably inaccurate, as usual. Is that really the best you can do?

  40. retired guy
    June 22, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Rural counties generally suffer from lack of docs. Most doctors settle in more populated areas due to better training availability and more patients. they make enough money that the higher cost of housing for them in more metropolitan areas isn’t a problem.

    It’s also interesting that pay for docs here is higher on the average than other occupations. In other words, although the average annual pay for rural Humboldt County residents is less than the statewide average, doctor pay is about the same as in San Francisco. I believe this is true for most medical costs, not just for the doctors.

    I guess what my point is, is this. The population as a whole cannot afford good medical care here, especially the poor. I remember about three years ago I was referred to a specialist by my family doc and right there where you sign in at the specialists reception area was a sign that Medical insurance patients were not accepted, and soon those with Blue Cross insurance would also not be accepted. The low reimbursement rate for these two insurances was the reason for this. So, either the insurance companies, or the docs, were so profit oriented that services they provided were unavailable to a majority patients.

    So, what’s the problem? In a nutshell, as described above.

  41. Anonymous
    June 22, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Anybody read the entire study?

  42. suzy blah blah
    June 22, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    … why would the decrease in life expectancy only apply to women, and not also to men?

    And why in Humboldt but not Mendocino and Del Norte.

  43. tra
    June 22, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Good question.

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