U.S. drop in deaths largest in 60 years 
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 U.S. drop in deaths largest in 60 years


U.S. drop in deaths largest in 60 years

Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON - Driven by an unusually mild flu season, annual deaths in
the U.S. fell by 50,000 in 2004, the largest drop in more than 60
years, federal officials said Wednesday.

The decrease was a fraction of the 2.45 million total deaths in 2004,
but it helped push the nation's death rate down to a record low of 801
per 100,000 people.

That easily eclipsed the previous record of 833 deaths per 100,000 set
in 2003, according to the report from the National Center for Health

Life expectancy at birth continued its crawl upwards, inching to a new
high of 77.9 years in 2004 from 77.5 years in 2003.

Women could expect to live 80.4 years, and men had a life expectancy of
75.2 years, narrowing the gender gap to 5.2 years.

Rick Shaffer, an epidemiologist at San Diego State University, said the
statistics reflected the steady improvements in health care that have
driven down death rates for heart disease, cancer and stroke - the
leading causes of death in the U.S.

The mild flu season in 2004 also indirectly contributed to the lower
death rates for heart disease, cancer and other chronic illnesses, said
Arialdi Minino, a statistician with the agency and lead author of the

"If an older person has a pre-existing condition like cancer and gets
the flu, the cause of death could be cancer or flu," he said. "Flu is
tied up in many deaths."

The last big annual drop in deaths occurred in 1944, when deaths fell
by 48,000 from the previous year.

Minino said he didn't know the reason for that decline.

The statistics were based on a review of about 90 percent of death
records reported in all 50 states in 2004.

The overall infant mortality rate fell to 6.76 per 100,000 from 6.85
per 100,000 in 2003, although the gap between white and black infants
remained wide.

The mortality rate for black infants was 13.65 per 100,000 - more
than twice the 5.65 per 100,000 for white infants.



Could it be that less access to health care, less overall mortality?

That appears to be the trend.


Tue, 07 Oct 2008 03:38:24 GMT
 [ 1 post ] 

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