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World life expectancy up, U.S. stays same

Dec. 13, 2012 at 6:41 PM   |   Comments

SEATTLE, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- In the last 20 years, worldwide life expectancy rose, deaths due to cancer increased, and the U.S. life expectancy remained about the same, researchers say.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, a health research organization financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation at the University of Washington coordinated the report.

Since 1970, men and women worldwide have gained slightly more than 10 years of life expectancy overall, but they spend more years living with injury and illness, the report said.

Throughout the world, there was a sharp decline in deaths due to malnutrition and infectious diseases such as measles and tuberculosis. However, 8 million people died of cancer in 2010, 38 percent more than in 1990, and cancer now accounts for 2-of-3 deaths worldwide, up from about half in 1990, The New York Times reported.

Of all the highly-developed countries, U.S. women made the smallest gains in life expectancy from 1990 to 2010, while women in Cyprus gained 2.3 years of life and Canadian women gained 2.4 years. U.S. women fell to 36th place in the report's global ranking of life expectancy, down from 22nd in 1990.

"It's alarming just how little progress there has been for women in the United States," Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, told The Times.

Increased in obesity rates among U.S. women and the results of smoking were among the factors contributing to the stagnation in U.S. life expectancy, the report said.

The findings were published in The Lancet.

Rising rates of obesity among American women and the legacy of smoking, a habit women in this country formed later than men, are among the factors contributing to the stagnation, he said.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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