U.S. life expectancy increased in 2000

December 1, 2001

Pharmaceutical Representative

Life expectancy for the U.S. population reached a record high of 76.9 years in 2000 as mortality declined for several leading causes of death, according to preliminary figures from a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Life expectancy for the U.S. population reached a record high of 76.9 years in 2000 as mortality declined for several leading causes of death, according to preliminary figures from a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Americans on average are living longer than ever before, and much of this is due to the progress we've made in fighting diseases that account for a majority of deaths in the country," Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said. "But we can do even more by eating right, exercising regularly and taking other simple steps to promote good health and prevent serious illness and disease."

The estimates are featured in a new CDC report, "Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2000," an analysis of over 85% of the death certificates recorded in the United States for 2000.

Cancer and heart disease

The report shows that age-adjusted death rates continued to fall for heart disease and cancer, the two leading causes of death in the United States, which account for over half of all deaths in the country each year.

Age-adjusted death rates also fell for other leading causes of death, including homicide, suicide, accidents or "unintentional injuries," stroke, diabetes, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and chronic liver disease and cirrhosis.

In addition, the preliminary infant mortality rate in the United States fell to its lowest level ever in 2000 - 6.9 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, down from a rate of 7.1 in 1999.

The report also shows that mortality decreased by 3.7% for HIV infection in 2000, the fifth straight year of decline.

Meanwhile, mortality increased for certain leading causes of death, including Alzheimer's disease, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease, hypertension, septicemia, and pneumonitis due to solids and liquids, a condition that disproportionately affects the aging population and which emerged for the first time as one of the 15 leading causes of death.

Results of the study will hopefully help scientists continue to bring mortality rates down. Said Edward Sondik, director of the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, which prepared the report, "Information is often the most effective weapon we have against many of these problems, and having timely data gives us better information." PR