Researchers: Racial gap in life expectancy narrowing

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The life expectancy of blacks and whites is now just 5.3 years apart, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

While the life-expectancy gap between blacks and whites in the U. S. widened between 1983 and 1993, it narrowed significantly over the next decade. The gap dropped from 7.1 years in 1993 to 5.3 years in 2003, according to data from the U.S. National Vital Statistics System, maintained by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Lower death rates among blacks for homicide, HIV, unintentional injuries and heart disease have contributed to narrower gap, researchers said.