New life expectancy data show that Utah men have the highest life expectancy in the nation, according to numbers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Utah boys born in 2009 are projected to live 78.8 years, compared with 76.2 nationally.
Women in Utah will outlive their husbands and brothers by about four years, living until 82.2.
"People living in your state, they have a better lifestyle," said Ali Mokdad, the head of the institute's county performance research team. "Basically they're being rewarded by living much longer than anybody else."
But the news overall is far from positive on U.S. life expectancy, according to the University of Washington-based group.
Despite the high spending on health care, the country is falling behind other Western countries, some of which have sharply increased their life expectancy over the past 20 years. Ninety percent of U.S. counties have a life expectancy shorter than that of Greece.
Men living in Mississippi have the shortest life expectancy in the country: 71.8 years.
Utahns living in Cache, Morgan and Rich counties will live the longest of any state residents: 79.5 years for men and 82.5 years for women.
Salt Lake County residents are expected to live nearly as long: 78.1 years for men and 81.7 years for women.
Following the trend nationwide, Utahns are predicted to live slightly longer than they did 20 years ago, almost four years longer for men but only two years longer for women.
The lack of improvement in longevity for women is of serious concern to the institute.
"All the debate you hear about women's health is abortion and women's birth control," Mokdad said. "The debate should be why they're living less."
He pointed to lung cancer and high blood pressure as some of the conditions that take women's lives.
How do we stack up?
O To read more about life expectancy across the nation, go to http://www.healthmetricsandevaluation.org.