Life expectancy falls in US
Life expectancy in the US dropped between 2007 and 2008, after years of steady increase. But the drop was small – about a month – and probably does not signal the long-anticipated effect of obesity, US statisticians say. There were similar dips in 2005 and 1993 that did not signal anything.
Life expectancy at birth in 2008 was 77.8 years (77.9 in 2007). For men it was 75.3 (75.4 in 2007), for women 80.3 (80.4). The fall is concentrated in whites: black people show no change in overall life expectancy, but at 73.6 years are still more than four years behind whites.
On striking change is that stroke, the third commonest cause of death in the US for more than 50 years, was overtaken by chronic lower respiratory diseases in 2008. While stroke deaths are falling, this change in ranking may be the result of new disease classifications being introduced for respiratory disease, which increased as a cause of death by 7.8 per cent in a single year.
A big rise of 15 per cent was also recorded in deaths from C difficile: it was responsible for 7,483 deaths in 2008, and is now the 18th leading cause of death in people over 65.