A new report shows that West Virginia is one of five states with the highest death rates in the country. The leading cause is heart disease.
In 2017, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia had the highest death rates in the U.S., according to a report released Thursday from the National Center for Health Statistics.
States with the lowest death rates in 2017 were California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota and New York. Death rate is calculated as the percent of a population that dies within a given time.
Along with heart disease, other leading causes of death were cancer, stroke and lower respiratory diseases like pulmonary disease.
If you were a young or middle aged adult living in one of the five states with the highest death rates in 2017, you were more than twice as likely to die than your peers living in one of the states with the lowest death rates.
Nationwide, deaths among men were higher than women.
The older you get, especially for people in the 85 plus range, the gap between states with the highest rates and lowest death rates closes.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from Marshall Health and Charleston Area Medical Center.