Life Expectancy In America Drops For The First Time In Three Decades

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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Life expectancy in the United States is falling for the first time in nearly thirty years, according to a report released Thursday by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

The average American had a life expectancy of 78.8 years in 2015, a decline of one-tenth of a year from 2014. Male life expectancy fell two-tenths of a year, down from 76.5 years in 2014 to 76.3 years in 2015. Females still live, on average, several years longer than men. Female life expectancy, however, decreased 0.1 year from 81.3 years in 2014 to 81.2 years in 2015. This is the first time since 1993 that life expectancy registered a decline in the U.S.

The causes for declining life expectancy can be traced to the growing list of serious and deepening health concerns in the United States. The top 10 leading causes of death in 2015 remained the same as 2014.

The most deadly health problems facing the American people last year were heart disease, cancer, and chronic lower respiratory diseases. Morbidity rates increased for heart disease, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and kidney disease.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One out of every four deaths in the U.S. is due to heart disease.

Unintentional injuries that result in death are also on the rise, and those include: drug and alcohol overdoses, motor vehicle crashes, and other accidents. Compounding the number of drug-related deaths nationally is a heroin epidemic, with fatalities from heroin more than quadrupling across the U.S. in 2015. Also on the rise are deaths from suicide, the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. Suicides rose from 42,773 in 2014 to 44,193 last year.

The CDC aggregates death certificates filed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and then compiles into national data known as the National Vital Statistics System.

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