New numbers report drop in Missouri life expectancy


New numbers from the state show the average life expectancy is dropping in Missouri — and this isn’t the first year to see that fall.

“I would say I’m pretty healthy,” said Joplin student Lucy Sare..

Sare wants to live a long and healthy life, especially given her family history.

“I know I come from a family of diabetes and heart disease, so I know that in the long run when I start to have kids or when I start to live a more sedentary lifestyle, I want to set myself up well for that,” Sare added.

…Something more Missouri patients may want to consider.

The state life expectancy is down to 77 years, the latest decrease in a six year trend. Some of the biggest increases in 2018 came from homicide, drug overdoses, and suicide.

But, medical issues play an even bigger role.

“Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death across the US and as you look to South/Central Missouri, obesity rate, diabetes, and high blood pressure. It makes sense our numbers will climb and continue to climb until we address those,” said Dr. John Paulson with KCU Joplin.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the state. That’s followed by cancer and chronic lung disease.

But, even the flu is a concern with deaths up in 2018.

“You should definitely get a flu shot and other immunizations,” Paulson explained. “We know immunizations are proven to help people live longer lives.”

Numbers are mixed for the rest of the Four States. Kansas life expectancy is slightly higher at 77.4 years. But, both Oklahoma and Arkansas come in two years lower.
All Four States are below the national average of 78.6 years.

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