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Life Expectancy, Disease, and Risk Factors

  • We are living longer. Since 1980, men's life expectancy rose from 70 to 76, while women's increased from 77 to 81.
  • Heart disease remains the most common killer for both men and women. It causes about one-quarter of all deaths each year. But over the past 10 years, the number of heart disease deaths has dropped by 32%.
  • Deaths caused by stroke dropped by about a third for both men and women. Cancer deaths are also down -- by 15% for men and 11% for women.
  • Nearly half of all adults with high blood pressure don't have it under control, though this percentage has gone down significantly since the early 1990s. The number of adults with high cholesterol also dropped during this period.
  • Since 1994, obesity has gone up among all age groups. Nearly 20% of school-age children are now obese, while one-fifth of adults over 20 now have a BMI greater than 30 (which is considered obese).
  • In 2010, only half of adults over 18 met the federal recommendations for physical activity.
  • The number of 40-and-older women who had a mammogram over the past two years has held steady for a decade, while many more adults ages 50 to 75 are now being screened for colorectal cancer than 10 years ago.
  • Drug poisoning deaths doubled between 2000 and 2008. Opioid painkillers accounted for 40% of those deaths in 2008.

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