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Increases for Some Conditions
Relative to 2002, the report also found increased mortality rates for some conditions, including:
Infant Mortality Rates
The report found that in 2003 there were about seven infant deaths per 1,000 live births, compared with 6.9 per 1,000 live births in 2002, the first time the U.S. infant mortality rate had increased in 44 years (Scripps Howard/Detroit News, 3/1). According to the Los Angeles Times, the 2003 infant mortality rate "implies that the 2002 finding was real and not a statistical blip" (Los Angeles Times, 3/1).
Race, Sex Results
However, the gap between male and female life expectancies decreased from 2002, when females lived an average of 5.4 years longer than men. The Washington Times reports that 2003 was the first time the average life expectancy of all U.S. women, regardless of race, exceeded 80 years (Washington Times, 3/1). In addition, the report found that death rates per 100,000 white men declined by 2.1% in 2003 and by 1.2% for white women, compared with a 2.5% decrease for African-American men and a 2.4% decrease among African-American women. Among Latinos, mortality rates for men decreased by 4.2% and by 1.8% for women (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 2/28). Overall, the report found that average life expectancy for white residents was 78 years in 2003 and about 73 years for African-American residents. African-American males continue to have the shortest life expectancy at less than 70 years in 2003, according to the report.
With regard to the increased mortality rate for Alzheimer's, Anderson said, "It's hard to tell if this is an increase in actual risk or if the higher death rate reflects diagnostic shifts," adding, "Even with the aging of the U.S. population, there is an increase in apparent risk for Alzheimer's." Anderson said that the increased mortality rate for Parkinson's disease was one of the report's most surprising findings and that he does not believe the increase should be attributed to diagnostic changes. He said, "I just think there's more of it out there. ... Deaths from Parkinson's tend to occur in older people" (Washington Times, 3/1). Mary Salmon, a sociology professor at the University of North Carolina, said research also indicates that there is an increase in active life expectancy. "It's not that we're having a lot of very old, sick people," she said. The AP/Sun reports that the United States still has lower life expectancy rates than many other countries, according to statistics from the World Health Organization (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 2/28).
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"Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at http://www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/healthpolicy. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation . © 2005 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release.
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Beattie, Nora. "Life Expectancy In USA Increases To 77.6 Years; Deaths From Heart Disease, Cancer Decline, Report Finds." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 3 Mar. 2005. Web.
7 Dec. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/20557>
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