U.S. life expectancy drops; death rates rise for Alzheimer's, flu, study finds

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Americans' life expectancy has dropped by one month, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Early results of the report showed that a baby born in 2008 could be expected to live 77.8 years.

The change represents a reversal, as life expectancy has been rising. Researchers say this change is minor and that it would take a while to determine the reason for the decline.

Meanwhile, death rates fell for six of the 15 leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, homicide and accidents. Also, death rates went up for Alzheimer's disease, flu and pneumonia, high blood pressure, suicide and kidney disease, along with chronic lower respiratory diseases.

Additional findings indicate that the death rate for stroke dropped for the first time in 50 years—by 4%. That makes it the fourth leading cause of death. Stroke was bumped out of position by chronic lower respiratory diseases such as asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.