For the first time in almost a century, life expectancy has dropped for some American women. According to a study published today in PLoS Medicine, a journal of the Public Library of Science, life expectancy for women has declined in 1,000 counties. The Washington Post reports that those 1,000 counties are home to 12% of the nation's women — most of them poor and located in the Deep South, Appalachia, and the lower Midwest. "The most dramatic change occurred in two areas in southwestern Virginia (Radford City and Pulaski County), where women's life expectancy has decreased by more than five years since 1983," says the Post. Study leader Dr. Christopher J.L. Murray attributes some of the decline to the growing obesity epidemic and the related increase in heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The other reason for the decline is the uptick in women smoking. "I think this is a harbinger. This is not going to be isolated to this set of counties, is my guess," Murray told the Post. [WaPo]