Life expectancy in U.S. reaches an all-time high of 76.9 years

Wednesday, October 10th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ATLANTA (AP) _ Life expectancy in the United States has climbed to an all-time high of nearly 77 years, while infant mortality has dropped to the lowest level on record, the government reported Wednesday.

A government study of death certificates nationwide put U.S. life expectancy at 76.9 years for someone born in 2000, up from 76.7 in 1999, the National Center for Health Statistics said. Infant mortality dropped last year to 6.9 deaths for every 1,000 live births.

Life expectancy has been rising steadily for years.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson credited advances in fighting disease, and urged Americans to eat right and exercise regularly to stay healthy.

Even as life expectancy creeps up, surveys continually show Americans getting less active and more obese, putting them at risk for heart disease and diabetes, among other illnesses.

Among whites, life expectancy was put at 77.4 last year, compared with 71.8 among blacks. Both races had higher life expectancies than they did in 1999, with blacks narrowing the gap by about four months.

The gender gap for life expectancy also narrowed, but women continue to live considerably longer than men _ 79.5 years versus 74.1.