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American life expectancy has dropped as more young lives are lost to suicides and overdoses, and progress to prevent heart disease deaths slows, new CDC figures reveal.
Drug fatalities and suicides have been rising for over a decade, but until recently the impact of that on life expectancy was offset by the steady, rapid decline in people dying from cardiovascular disease and strokes.
Rise - People - Diet - Exercise - Regime
However, the rise in people with a poor diet, minimal or non-existent exercise regime, and a diabetes diagnosis has brought that progress to a halt - revealing how fiercely the other epidemics are bulldozing Americans.
Now, the life expectancy at birth is 78.6 years old, down from 78.7 in 2016.
Fact - Lung - Diseases - Smoking - Air
It's not helped by the fact that lung diseases, mainly caused by smoking and likely by rising air pollution, remain high - the fourth leading cause of death - as a generation of smokers enters their elderly years.
Even another remarkable drop in cancer death rates - dropping more than 2 percent last year, continuing a decades-long trend - is not enough to balance it out.
Analysts - Data - Call
Analysts say the incredibly disappointing data should be a wake-up call.
'In a developed country like the US with the resources we had, we would expect to not have a declining life expectancy,' Bob Anderson, chief of the mortality statistics branch at the CDC, told DailyMail.com.
Report - Today - Rises - Causes - Death
The report, published today, also reveals rises in causes of death that blight the elderly - Alzheimer's, falls, influenza and pneumonia - as the population ages.
But those have little impact on the overall life expectancy; it's young deaths that really take a toll.
'Changes - Ages - Impact - Ages - Anderson
'Changes among the younger ages have a larger impact than older ages,' Anderson explained.
'There's a lot more potential life that's not lived, so it tends to bring down the average more.'
In 2014, Americans were expected...
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