Posted on Apr 02, 2012, 6 a.m.
A study analyzing 75 years of statistical data suggests that death rates in the United States are dropping.
Researchers from the United States Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC; Georgia, USA) report a dramatic rise in lifespan in the US. Donna L. Hoyert and colleagues reviewed statistical data collected from 1935 to 2010, and found that more accessible and affordable medical care, coupled with health-promoting lifestyle – most notably a decline in smoking rates, have markedly reduced death rates. For those ages 85 and older, the risk of dying has dropped by 38%, with the differential in the risk of dying for men, as compared to women, has narrowed dramatically in the past 30 years. While cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, advancements in the effectively treating the condition has become a major contributor to the extension of the American lifespan. Writing that: "Because year-to-year changes in death rates are often small, one might not appreciate the full extent of progress in reducing mortality in the United States over the past [three quarters] of a century, the study authors conclude that: "the 2010 age-adjusted death rate of 746.2 deaths per 100,000 population was just 0.5 percent lower than in 2009. However, the 2010 rate represented a 60 percent decrease from the 1935 age-adjusted death rate of 1,860.1 deaths per 100,000 population signaling significant progress in reducing the overall risk of death in the United States across all groups.”
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Donna L. Hoyert. “75 Years of Mortality in the United States, 1935–2010,” US CDC National Center for Health Statistics, No. 88, March 2012.