U.S. Lifespan Hits Record High
Americans are living longer than ever, according to new government statistics.
The National Center for Health Statistics released its annual report on deaths and life expectancy yesterday, with the latest data for 2007 showing that overall the average U.S. lifespan had hit a record high of 77.9 years.
That's up from 77.7 in 2006 and represents a continuation of a long-term trend. Over the past decade, life expectancy has increased 1.4 years -- from 76.5 in 1997 to 77.9 in 2007.
Life expectancy hit record highs for both men and women, rising from 75.1 to 75.3 for men and from 80.2 to 80.4 for women, the report found. While the gap between male and female life expectancy has narrowed since the peak of 7.8 years in 1979, the 5.1- year difference in 2007 was the same as in 2006.
Blacks continue to have lower life expectancy than whites, but they have reached record highs as well. Black males life expectancy rose from 69.7 to 70.2 and black females from 76.5 to 77. The gap between white and black life expectancy narrowed by 0.4 years. It was 78.2 years among whites and 73.2 among blacks in 2006. In 2007, it was 78.3 among whites and 73.7 among blacks.
White females have the highest life expectancy (80.7), followed by black females (77), white males (75.8) and black males (70.2) -- a pattern that has not changed since 1976.
Overall, the age-adjusted death rate in the United States fell for the eighth straight year to an all-time low of 760.3 deaths per 100,000 -- a 2.1 percent drop from 776.5 in 2006 and half of what it was 60 years ago.
Mortality rates declined significantly for eight of the 15 leading causes of death, including declines in death of 8.4 percent decline from influenza and pneumonia, 6.5 percent decline from homicides, 5 percent decline from accidents, 4.7 percent from heart disease, 4.6 percent from stroke, 3.9 percent from diabetes, 2.7 percent from high blood pressure and 1.8 percent drop from cancer.
There was also a 10 percent drop in deaths from HIV and AIDS between 2006 and 2007 -- the biggest one-year fall since 1998. HIV, however, remains the leading cause of death among 25 to 44 year olds.
August 20, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Family Health , General Health
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