Friday, December 7, 2007

Life expectancy and healthcare

Some figures state that life expectancy on the Reservations is 48 years
for men and 52 years for women. Other reports state that the average life expectancy on the Reservations is 45 years. These statistics are far from the 77.5 years of age life expectancy average found in the United States as a whole. According to current USDA Rural Development documents, the Lakota have the lowest life expectancy of any group in America.

More than half the Reservation's adults battle addiction and disease. Alcoholism, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and malnutrition are pervasive. The rate of diabetes on the Reservation is reported to be 800% higher than the U.S. national average. And as a result diabetic-related blindness, amputations, and kidney failure are common.

Preventive healthcare programs are rare. Many Reservation residents live without health care due to vast travel distances involved in accessing that care. There is no public transportation available on the Pine Ridge Reservation and only a minority of Reservation residents own an operable automobile. The predominant form of travel for all ages is walking or hitchhiking. Additional factors include under-funded, under-staffed medical facilities and outdated or non-existent medical equipment.

Source: Stephanie M. Schwartz - Arrogance of Ignorance.
Picture: Kalpesh Lathigra - Lost in the wilderness.

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