When looking at a column of life expectancy statistics, a year's difference between local, state and national numbers doesn't immediately look like much.
But what could the average Tri-Citian do with a year? How many trips could you take? How many sunny afternoons could you share with loved ones?
A report released Thursday shows that Tri-Citians -- particularly women -- have a life expectancy that's shorter than the state and national averages by anywhere from a few months to more than a year.
The report from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation looks at life expectancy data from 1989 to 2009 broken out by age, sex and county, and predicts that overall life expectancies for women are expected to become shorter for girls born now.
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Women's life expectancies are improving at a slower rate than those of men, and in hundreds of counties across the nation are shorter than they were two decades ago, the report said.
"It's tragic that in a country as wealthy as the United States and with all the medical expertise we have that so many girls will live shorter lives than their mothers," Dr. Ali Mokdad, head of the team that prepared the report, said in a statement.
For the 20-year period examined, the national average male life span increased by 4.6 years on average, from 71.6 years to 76.2 years, while the female life span increased 2.7 percent, from 78.6 years to 81.3 years.
The Washington average for men rose from 73.7 years in 1989 to 77.8 years in 2009. Women in Washington lived an average of 79.6 years two decades ago, and in 2009 were projected to live 81.9 years on average.
In Benton County, the data show women's average life spans rose from 79.5 years to 80.9 years, but while women in the county had life expectancies matching or greater than state and national averages in 1989, by 2009 they lagged behind both the state and national numbers.
Men in Benton County in 2009 had an average life expectancy of 78 years, compared to 73.8 years in 1989.
In Franklin County, the average life span for women went from 77.9 years to 79.6 years, and the life span for men rose from 70.8 years to 75.6 years -- leaving both sexes in the county with shorter life spans than the state and national averages.
Dr. Amy Person, health officer for Benton and Franklin counties, said she wasn't surprised that life expectancies in the two counties are a little shorter given the higher prevalence of obesity and diabetes, especially in Franklin County.
Both are chronic conditions that can shorten a person's life, she said.
"One of the things we need to work on is to get people to practice better health with their diet and exercise," Person said.