US life expectancy falls, as many kinds of death increase

The last time life expectancies at birth dropped for the total USA population was in 1993, a year when the deaths from AIDS reached a peak in the United States, compounded by a bad flu year that resulted in more flu and pneumonia deaths, he said. It was the only leading cause of death to experience a decline a year ago.

United States life expectancy had been inching north for years since the end of World War II, due to advances in medical science and effective public health campaigns. "The rate increased 0.9% for heart disease, 2.7% for chronic lower respiratory diseases, 6.7% for unintentional injuries, 3.0% for stroke, 15.7% for Alzheimer's disease, 1.9% for diabetes, 1.5% for kidney disease, and 2.3% for suicide", the CDC release said.

Moreover, cancer death rate decreased 1.7%, which is significant as cancer is the second major cause of death, causing nearly as many fatalities as heart disease. Even more troubling to health experts: the US seems to be settling into a trend of no improvement at all.

However, a recent report by the National Center for Health Statistics has indicated that life expectancy for men in the US dropped from 76.5 years in 2014 to 76.3 years in 2015.

David Weir, director of the health and retirement study at the Institute for Social Research at the University of MI, says that the new report shows increases over the past five years in "virtually every cause of death".

"With four years, you're starting to see some indication of something a little more ominous", S. Jay Olshansky, a University of Illinois-Chicago public health researcher, told the Associated Press.

The latest numbers technically mean that someone born in 2015 is expected to live an average of 78.8 years.

While that's not a lot, it was enough to cause the overall life expectancy to fall slightly.

More Locally Transmitted Zika Cases in Texas
Though the investigation is ongoing, the infections were likely acquired in that immediate area. There was no local transmission of Zika virus in Kentucky during the 2016 mosquito season.

The only clear drop was in cancer, the nation's No. 2 killer. The rate decreased for cancer, according to the study.

The report did not analyze the reasons behind the overall trend, but experts saw a number of possible explanations, including obesity and the rising impact of drug overdoses and suicides.

Two of the major increases were deaths from Alzheimer's disease and also an 11.3% rise in the rate of death for babies under one due to unintentional injuries. Leading the pack by far was Monaco, with an estimated life expectancy of 89.5 years. For women, the drop was very small with the average going down from 81.3 years to 81.2 years. No significant increases were seen for Latinos or for black women.

Thursday's findings didn't break down data by region, education or income.

Deaths from influenza and pneumonia held steady, while the eight others rose.

While death rates rose for white men, white women, and black men, they stayed essentially the same for black women, and Hispanic men and women.

"The troubling trends are most pronounced for the people who are the most disadvantaged", said Jennifer Karas Montez, a Syracuse University researcher who studies adult death patterns. There's not a better indicator of well-being than life expectancy.

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