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Researchers release health status of East Texas

New research out of the University of Texas Tyler says East Texans are living shorter lives than expected.

TYLER, Texas — According to the latest report from the Hibbs Institute for Business and Economic Research, there are three causes of death that are concerning to the well-being of East Texans. 

"Specifically, heart disease, cancer and chronically lower respiratory diseases are the top three in the nation, but you can see when you see the graph that East Texas has higher rates for these three," Dr. Manuel Reyes, senior research analyst and acting director for the institute, said. 

The Hibb Institute has been exploring the health status of East Texas since June. 

"I'm a regional economist exploring some health issues in East Texas and I have detected a problem," Reyes said. 

According to his research, one of those problems is premature death is extremely high in East Texas.

"So far I'm still examining, but I have two potential causes: Obesity and smoking," Reyes said. 

Reyes says it then comes down to focusing in on those health concerns. 

"It's a number of factors [that] it could be," Reyes explained. "It could be diet, it could be some kind of genetic predisposition."

Mortality rates for cancer deaths is also an issue Reyes is researching.

"The one type of cancer [with] the highest mortality rate is lung cancer," he said. 

For a full look at the research, click here