June 29 (UPI) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released its annual report showing trends in health and healthcare over the past 40 years.
The CDC report, titled Health, United States, 2016, was released Thursday by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
The report shows Americans are living longer and fewer are dying from major diseases now compared to 40 years ago.
The CDC reports that between 1975 and 2015, the average life expectancy in the United States increased for the total population, but between 2014 and 2015, the life expectancy declined by 0.1 years for the total population and females, and by 0.2 years for males.
The infant mortality rate also decreased between 1975 and 2015 by 63 percent, from 16.07 per 1,000 live births in 1975 to 5.90 per 1,000 live births in 2015.
Deaths by leading health conditions such as heart disease and cancer also decreased during the past 40 years, researchers report. The age-adjusted heart disease death rate decreased 61 percent from 431.2 deaths per 100,000 population to 168.5 deaths per 100,000 population.
The age-adjusted cancer death rate also decreased 21 percent from 200.1 deaths per 100,000 population in 1975 to 158.1 deaths per 100,000 population in 2015.
Certain unhealthy habits have also become less popular. Fewer adults over age 25 are smoking cigarettes, with the rate dropping from 36.9 percent to 15.6 percent. Obesity, on the other hand, has increased for adults age 20 and older from 22.9 percent between 1988 and 1994 to 37.8 percent between 2013 and 2014.
Prescription drug use increased across all age groups between 1988 to 2014 as the U.S. population also grew older between 1975 and 2015 -- the number of adults age 65 and older in the country has increased from 22.6 million to 47.8 million.
CDC researchers say population aging may be responsible for the increase in prescription drug use since adults 65 and older who reported using five or more prescription drugs in the past 30 days increased from 13.8 percent to 42.2 percent.