The numbers are sobering. If you live in South Dakota and want to live to see the age of 85, check where you live.

If you live in Sioux Falls, Aberdeen, Mitchell you're looking good. Living along the interstates or near decent health care and make a decent wage are key.

Today I read in the Washington Post: "Life expectancy in many places in this country is declining. It’s going backward instead of forward. These disparities are widening, so this gap is increasing."

If you live in Shannon, Todd or Buffalo counties in South Dakota, according to the story, your life expectancy is 20 years less.  Instead of blowing out 85 candles you might not see 65.

People are less likely to live longer if they are poor, get little exercise and lack access to health care, the researchers found. Mokdad said the quality and availability of that health care — for example, access to screening for signs of cancer — has a significant effect on health outcomes. The United States, he said, needs to rethink how it delivers medical care, with a much greater investment in prevention, and a more holistic approach to creating healthy communities.

Obviously there's much more to the story here in South Dakota. Alcohol, smoking and what we eat play an important roll, but the story was an eye opener.

South Dakota has long been called, the Land of Infinite Variety, but this study provides a comparison most residents most likely wont boast.

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