Saturday, March 24, 2007

So it's been a few days, but it hasn't been dull. Yesterday (3.23.07) the Daily Item of Lynn ( reported that while the average lifespan for Americans is increasing, it isn't so for residents of Lynn and Revere.

As a friend and fellow Revere-ite said, "Its great that they grouped us together. It's like they know!" Its a beautiful thing. I love being from this place.

But, for the record, I want to note that Lynn tops the list of premature deaths. I love being #1!

State study: Life expectancy lower in both Lynn, Revere

By David Liscio/The Daily Item

People are living longer these days, typically beyond age 75, but not in Lynn and Revere, according to a new state study.

While life-expectancy has reached an all-time high, and the overall death rate fell to a record low, the number of deaths among those age 75 and under was more common in some communities per 100,000 residents.

The state Department of Public Health (DPH) this week released a report entitled Massachusetts Deaths 2005 that indicates a girl born in 2005 can expect to live to age 82, while a boy can expect to live to age 76.

Donna Rheaume, a DPH spokesman, said the overall death rate in 2005 fell to a record low of 721 deaths per 100,000 people, down three percent from 2004 and 17 percent from 1990.

However, disparities in gender, race, ethnicity, education and community persist, she said.

Lynn, Revere, Springfield, New Bedford, Fall River, Brockton Worcester had the highest premature mortality rates among the state’s 30 largest communities. Premature mortality rate is the number of deaths among people under age 75 per 100,000 residents.

In 2005, Lynn had 329 premature deaths per 100,000 people, while Revere had 204. By comparison, Peabody had 180, Saugus 106, Marblehead 44 and Swampscott 25.

On the bright side, the death rate in Massachusetts is 10 percent below the 2004 national death rate.

The DPH study for 2005 showed a total of 53,776 people died. This reflected a decrease among those in age group 1-14, which had 24 fewer deaths. Further, in the age group 65-74, there were 221 fewer deaths that year.

Of all deaths in 2005, 23,129 occurred in hospitals. Another 16,446 were in nursing homes, 12,004 were in private homes, and 871 were dead on arrival. The remainder were listed as other or unknown.

“Unfortunately, significant disparities by race, ethnicity, and other factors continue to exist,” said Rheaume, noting for example that black, non-Hispanic boys born in 2005 could expect to live to age 73, compared to 77 years for white, non-Hispanic boys.

The report also noted that the infant mortality rate (IMR) for black non-Hispanics is more than double the rate for white non-Hispanics, or 9.4 versus 4.3 deaths for 1,000 live births. In contrast, the Hispanic rate of 7.7 is nearly 80-percent higher than the white non-Hispanic rate.

“The large difference in life expectancy between blacks and whites is a reminder that we need to develop focused efforts to eliminate disparities in health,” said Health and Human Services Secretary JudyAnn Bigby. “These data show that disparities also exist between groups according to educational attainment, gender and Hispanic ethnicity, suggesting that we need a multi-prong approach that addresses environmental, socioeconomic and public health issues.”

Heart disease and cancer remained the two most prevalent causes of death, accounting for almost half of all deaths. In 2005, heart disease and stroke death rates declined significantly from 2004. Heart disease declined six percent from 2004 and 21 percent since 2000. Stroke decreased by 10 percent from 2004 and by 25 percent since 2000.

Report highlights included findings that about one out of three deaths is to a person ages 85 or older in Massachusetts; that in 2005, 180 Massachusetts residents died from HIV/AIDS, the lowest number in Massachusetts since 1987.

The proportion of HIV/AIDS deaths for persons ages 45 and older remained stable from 2004, but has tripled since 1994, to 61 percent versus 20 percent, according to Rheaume.

The proportion of HIV/AIDS deaths among women has almost doubled since 1994, from 19 to 32 percent in that time span, she said.

Injuries were the leading cause of death for residents between the ages of 1 and 44, while cancer was the leading cause of death for people ages 45-84. Heart disease was the leading cause of death for people ages 85 and older.

The overall leading cause of cancer death was lung cancer, accounting for 28 percent of cancer deaths, followed by colorectal cancer at 10 percent. Lung cancer was the leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women. Breast cancer was the second leading cause of cancer death for women, while prostate cancer was the second leading cause for men.

Death rates due to chronic lower respiratory disease, influenza and pneumonia and diabetes have remained stable since 2004, but have declined significantly since 2000, the study indicated.

In 2005, about five percent of all deaths were the result of injuries. Poisonings, which include drug overdoses, were the leading cause of injury death, followed by motor vehicle-related deaths. Homicides were to blame for 177 deaths. The state homicide rate in 2005 remained the same as in 2004, but the rate has increased 40 percent since 2000.

Diabetes was the ninth leading underlying cause of death in 2005, accounting for two percent of all deaths. The disease ranked as the third cause of death in 2005 and accounted for seven percent of all deaths.

The report found that the overall death rate for males was almost 20 percent higher than for females, and that the death rate for those with a high school education or less was three times higher than the rate for those with 13 years of education or more.

The entire report can be viewed at with a link to What’s New.

Premature Deaths (under age 75) per 100,000 people in 2005:

Lynn 329

Revere 204

Peabody 180

Saugus 106

Marblehead 44

Swampscott 25

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