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Missoula Measures - Health


Why this section?

When considering the health of people in Missoula County, we can identify many interrelated topics. Health is one of those frequently used words that mean different things to different people; interests and concerns change related to stages of life and circumstances. Health is no longer defined as simply the absence of disease. A broader definition is "the blending of physical, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual resources as they assist in mastering the developmental tasks necessary to enjoy a satisfying and productive life." Payne & Hahn 1992

Public health focuses on what we, as a society, do collectively to assure conditions in which people can be healthy. Public health is particularly concerned that some Missoulians are more challenged than others and experience illness, difficulty and death at higher levels. These disparities can be found in all the topics listed below. See Special Populations.

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Life Expectancy

Life expectancy is the average number of years people born in a given year are expected to live based on a set of age-specific death rates. At the beginning of the 20th century, life expectancy at birth was 47.3 years. Fortunately, life expectancy has dramatically increased over the past 100 years (see figure 1). Today, the average life expectancy at birth is nearly 77 years

Figure 1. Past and projected female and male life expectancy at birth, United States, 1900-2050

Figure 1. Past and projected female and male life expectancy at birth, United States, 1900-2050

Life expectancy for persons at every age group has also increased during the past century. Based on today's age-specific death rates, individuals aged 65 years can be expected to live an average of 18 more years, for a total of 83 years. Those aged 75 years can be expected to live an average of 11 more years, for a total of 86 years.

Source: Healthy People 2020.

Leading Causes of Death

Following are graphs showing the top 10 leading causes of death as a percentage of all deaths in the United States, 1900 and 1997.

graph preventable causes of death

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Leading Causes of Death, US


Relates Websites

National Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance Survey Trends Data

For extensive background on National Public Health Status of this topic and many others, Healthy People 2020.

Montana Health Statistics by County - MSU Rural Health


What is Missoula Measures?

Missoula Measures presents indicators and other data, background information, and pertinent links on scores of topics related to health and quality of life in Missoula County. This site grew out of a healthy community indicators project initiated by Missoula city and county government in 1997-1999.   Contributors to original project.

This website is managed and updated by Lorena Hillis at Missoula City-County Health Dept. Contact with any questions, feedback or suggestions.


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