PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Figures from the CDC show that for the 10th straight year, death is down.

Americans are living longer, but still fight the usual battles.

Life expectancy in the U.S. is at an all time high: 78.2 years.

“In general, I think people are enjoying good health and doing things in their best interest,” says Dr. Bruce Dixon of the Allegheny County Health Department. “We could do far better than this if people could control what they take in and control their weight, if they would exercise, if they would stop smoking, if we could deal with some of the issues of youth violence, which pulls it down on the other end.”

The leading cause of death, heart disease, fell 3.7 percent. In second place, cancer — also down by 1.1 percent. Together, these account for nearly half of all deaths in the U.S.

Not all things are equal across races. Caucasians have a life expectancy of 78.6 years, African-Americans 74.3 years.

“Economics gets in the way, the ability to change dietary habits come to play for this, the lack of understanding of continuity of care and controlling things that don’t seem to produce symptoms very early, such as diabetes or high blood pressure,” explains Dr. Dixon. “We need to do a much better job of educating people about what quality health and health care is.”

And across gender, women come out ahead at 80.6 years, compared to 75.7 years for men.

“Certainly more men get heart disease than women, l think lifestyles have something to do with it, people in employment, in industry can get injured, and that reduces it to some degree,” Dr. Dixon concludes.

Suicide went from 11th place to 10th place as a cause of death, though part of that might be due to blood infections as a cause dropping. Homicide, in 15th place, also decreased 6.8 percent.

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Centers For Disease Control
National Institutes of Health: MedlinePlus

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