NEW YORK (AP) -- Women still live longer than men but a new study finds some U.S. women aren't living as long as they used to.
The latest research found that women age 75 and younger are dying at higher rates than previous years in nearly half of the nation's counties -- many of them rural and in the South and West. For men, life expectancy was steady or improved.
The study is the latest to spot this pattern, especially among disadvantaged white women. Some blame higher smoking rates, obesity and less education, but several experts say they simply don't know why.
The lifespan gap between men and women has been narrowing and government data has shown women's longevity is not growing at the same pace as men's.
Studies have only recently begun to spotlight the phenomenon of some women losing ground, though it may have begun in the 80s.