01/23/2019
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Life expectancy in North Carolina varies dramatically according to new studies related to children.

The life expectancy in Bladen County is 75 to 77 years. In Columbus and Robeson counties, life expectancy is 73 to 75 according to the report, while in counties east of Bladen…Pender, New Hanover, and Brunswick, life expectancy is 78 to 79.

The report is from a study by a child advocacy group, and it shows life expectancies vary greatly across the state.

The differences appear to relate to factors that heavily influence health overall. Examples are poverty rates, access to health care and prenatal care according to Laila Bell, the author of the report. She is the director of research and data at NC Child, a nonprofit that works to improve the lives of North Carolina children.

According to the report, children born in North Carolina overall, have an average life expectancy of 78.3 years, about six months shorter than the nation as a whole.

Children who grow up in Watauga County (Boone) can expect to live nearly 82 year, on par with some of the world’s healthiest countries. However, in rural Swain county (Bryson City) the difference is huge. Children born there can expect to live 73 years, on par with some foreign countries such as Cambodia, according to the report.

In Orange County the life expectancy is 81.7 years.

Bell, in her report, says North Carolina is by no means unique. Her report indicated life expectancy in New Orleans can vary as much as 25 years.

Life expectancy has risen in North Carolina, according to the report, thanks in part to efforts to reduce premature births and to educate parents on how to prevent sleep-related deaths.

Looking at some of the highlights of Bladen County:
1) 1 in 16 births is to a woman who received very late or no prenatal care.

2) Low birth weight has been found to be the strongest predictor of infant mortality. 1 in 9 Bladen County babies is born at a low birth weight.

3) 37.4% of Bladen children live in poverty.

4) 1 in 9 Bladen County children is uninsured. 748 of whom may be income eligible for Medicaid or NC Health Choice.

A baby born today in Bladen County would live 5.9 less years than a baby born in the county with highest life expectancy.

According to the report as of 2014, child health can be improved by:

1) Expanded Medicaid to cover adults below 138% of the federal poverty line.

2) Supporting interventions to reduce infant mortality, like the CFTF Healthy Babies Bundle.

3) Investing in early intervention services to reduce the effects of developmental delays.

For more information related to the report google NC Child.

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