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CDC: U.S. life expectancy at 77.9 years

ATLANTA, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- U.S. life expectancy reached nearly 78 years -- 77.9 -- in 2007, up from 77.7 in 2006, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The report by CDC's National Center for Health Statistics is based on data from nearly 90 percent of U.S. death certificates. U.S. life expectancy increased 1.4 years from 76.5 years in 1997 to 77.9 in 2007.

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The gap between male and female life expectancy has narrowed -- life expectancy recorded for U.S. males was 75.3 years and 80.4 years for females. In 1979, the gap between male and female life expectancy peaked at 7.8 years.

Over a decade, life expectancy increased 1.4 years from 76.5 years in 1997 to 77.9 in 2007, the report said.

Heart disease and cancer, the two leading causes of death, accounted for nearly half -- 48.5 percent -- of all deaths in 2007.

The preliminary infant mortality rate for 2007 was 6.77 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, a 1.2 percent increase from the 2006 rate of 6.69, though not considered statistically significant, the report said. The United States had a higher infant mortality rate than 28 other countries.

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