An article in yesterday’s Washington Post showcases a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Washington that examines the life expectancy rates for counties across the United States. According to the study, McDowell County, WV, has the lowest life expectancy in the United States for males and the second lowest for females. Many premature deaths could be prevented, the study suggests, by making societal changes to address risks. Dietary risks are principal among these. In 2010, 678,282 Americans died because of dietary risks compared to 465,651 who died that year of smoking-related diseases. An additional 1.4 million died from four diseases that are directly affected by diet.

Chart Life Expectancy in the U.S.The Post article also quotes Ali Mokdad, a professor who worked on the study, as saying “If the U.S. can make progress with dietary risk factors, physical exercise and obesity, it will see massive reductions in [premature] death and disability.”

Taken together, these facts emphasize the importance of the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger’s work in McDowell County, WV, to reduce the hunger disparities in multigenerational households. At the heart of our work there is NFESH’s FeeducationTM program that is designed to teach low-income individuals how to purchase and prepare nutritious meals in an area where access and food choices are limited. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, McDowell County is the poorest county in West Virginia. To learn more about our work to end hunger in McDowell County, click here.