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U.S. life expectancy at all-time high

August 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The life expectancy of the average American is now at an all-time high.A report released Wednesday by the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, revealed that a child born in the U.S. today can now expect to live almost 78 years.

That means that U.S. life expectancy has increased by almost one and a half years in the past decade alone.

The new statistic comes from analysis of about 90 percent of the death certificates filed in 2007 and is based on the life expectancy of a child born in 2007.

As usual, American women are outliving men. The average life expectancy for a woman is 80 years, 75 years for a man.

The number of deaths is down and so is the overall death rate. The death rate has been dropping for eight consecutive years.

The CDC report found that in 2006, the date rate was about 776 deaths per 100,000 people. That figure dropped to 760 the following year.

The leading causes of deaths in the U.S., heart disease and cancer, are also down. In addition, the HIV death rate dropped 10 percent making it the biggest one-year decline in a decade.

However, the rate of deaths from Alzheimer's disease is growing. It is now the sixth leading cause of death. Alzheimer's is linked now to more deaths than diabetes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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