Life expectancy in the United States - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Life expectancy in the United States

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WASHINGTON - DC -

A new study finds Americans are living longer than they did 20 years ago, but our life expectancy still lags way behind many other countries. And it's illness and chronic disability that are keeping the numbers down.

University of Washington researchers led the study, which compared the overall health of Americans to people living in 34 other countries. they found that life expectancy in the U.S. increased from 75.2 years in 1990 to 78.2 years in 2010, but 26 countries have higher life expectancies. They're living longer in places like Australia, Germany, and even Iceland. but it's Japan that tops the list at 82.6 years.

Diseases like ischemic heart disease, lung cancer, and stroke account for the largest number of premature deaths in the U.S., but injuries like car and motorcycle crashes also take their toll. Researchers do concede that although the overall health of people living in the United States did improve over the last 20 years, it did not keep pace with other wealthy nations.

Complete findings are available online on the website of the "Journal of the American Medical Association."

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