Louisiana life expectancy rating among the worst in the U.S.

Medical background / Photo: Wesley Wilson / (MGN)

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - A new study shows Louisiana is ranked 47th in the nation in terms of life expectancy. The nine states with the lowest life expectancy ratings are located in the south, with Arkansas ranked 44th in the country. Mississippi is 50th.

For comparison, here are the best ten states:

1. Hawaii
2. California
3. Connecticut
4. Minnesota
5. New York
6. Massachusetts
7. New Jersey
8. Washington
9. Colorado
10. Vermont

That ranking comes from a new study by SeniorLiving.org. Efforts are already underway to improve the ranking.

In Louisiana, heart disease and cancer account for nearly 90 percent of deaths statewide, with life expectancy now standing at 75.6 years.

That’s three years shorter than the national average.

And that has led to the statewide effort T.A.C.L., which stands for Taking Aim at Cancer in Louisiana.

Greg Sonnenfeld, who serves as vice chairman of T.A.C.L. and coordinates oncology services for Ochsner LSU Health in Shreveport, says getting more free screenings early on will help raise Louisiana’s life expectancy rate.

“People in Louisiana don’t get screened at the appropriate time. So we know that screening saves lives when we catch cancer at an early stage.”

Just living in Shreveport- Bossier City has its own health advantages.

The area has long been considered a regional medical hub and home for top-flight surgical and research facilities to fight both diseases.

Those include the Willis-Knighton Heart Institute in Shreveport, where cardiologist Sai Konduru pointed to three factors.

First, he explained, people are generally living more sedentary lives.

Second, there’s a person’s diet and trying to avoid processed foods.

And third, Konduru concluded that there’s a general lifestyle that’s often not too healthy either, at least for many of us.

"Sedentary lifestyle is a big deal in this day and age. And I think that starts this vicious cycle of hypertension, obesity, diabetes, pre-diabetes and then cardiovascular disease."

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