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Life Expectancy Up, But So Are Diabetes, Obesity

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Americans are living longer, but diabetes and obesity are on the rise, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday.

Life expectancy was a record 77.2 years in 2001, according to the CDC's annual survey of health statistics.

Gender and racial gaps narrowed. The average life span for women was 79.8 years, up a year from 1990. For men, it was 74.4 years, up more than two years from 1990. White people lived an average of 5.5 years longer than black people in 2001; the difference was seven years in 1990.

Other good news: Infant mortality reached a low of 6.8 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2001, and the birth rate among teenagers was the lowest in six decades, at 45 per 1,000 for mothers ages 15 to 19.

But 6.5 percent of adults were diagnosed with diabetes in 2002, a 27 percent increase from 1997. And obesity has more than doubled since the late 1970s, to 31 percent of adults.

Copyright 2003 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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