A study, published in Health Affairs, compared the amount of infant deaths with the life expectancy rates in the 13 states of Appalachia versus the rest of the United States.
The study focused on the years from 1990 to 2013. The results showed infant mortality rates in Appalachia were 16 percent higher than the rest of the country and the life expectancy for adults was 2.4 years less.
Dr. Coy Flowers, a Physician and OB-GYN at the Greenbrier Physicians Clinic was able to give insight on the study.
“Smoking plays a huge role in that, obesity, not having access to fresh organic food, the drug addiction crisis; you look in certain towns in southern West Virginia there are whole high school classes which are dead because they’ve succumb to opioid addiction,” said Dr. Flowers.
Dr. Flowers also said the infant mortality rate is much higher in Appalachia and even specifically West Virginia due to the opioid and drug addiction problem, as well as smoking.
“We need to focus on this current generation of babies because they are dying at a higher rate because of exposure to drugs in utero, exposure to women who smoke and living poverty stricken lives the first few days of birth,” Dr. Flowers Said.
A study also showed that women who are born and raised in Welch, West Virginia and spend their lives there are dying 12 years earlier than their counterpart in Fairfax, Virginia.
“Men are dying 20 years earlier than the corresponding men in Fairfax,Virginia, its a travesty and has got to stop,” said Dr. Flowers.
One solution Dr. Flowers gave was simply people becoming educated on what they can do to live a healthier lifestyle.