A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association had researchers look into how the impact of diseases varies from state to state.
Ray Dorsey was involved with the study, he’s a doctor with the University of Rochester Medical Center, and says the top takeaway from the study is that the leading causes of death and disability are preventable.
"Every society creates its own diseases, and we as a society can change our behaviors and address these diseases before they occur and prevent needless suffering."
Changing things like diet, exercise and smoking are easier said than done, Dorsey says, but for the most part, we know how to live healthier, longer lives.
Dorsey said making changes in these habits is much less costly than the treatments for the conditions they cause.
Health in New York State in particular was also shown to have improved. New York has experienced one of the largest increases in life expectancy at birth, an increase of nearly six years in just one generation.
Dorsey says although that is a positive change, we will probably see an uptick in diseases related to longer life expectancies.
"We largely haven’t prepared ourselves to address this. The phenomenon or aging is a relatively new one in the history of humanity. As late as the 1900's the average life expectancy for most of the world was in the mid-40s and there were some people who lived into older ages but not nearly as many as are doing today."
The study also showed how developments in research and new therapies have made difference in leading causes of disability. HIV/AIDS fell from the 13th to the 51st place due to better treatments.