New health statistics show Americans living longer

ATLANTA Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:37pm EDT

Dr. Funshine, aka Caroline Meeks, M.D. teaches a laughter therapy class to a group of seniors at the Clairmont Friendship Center in San Diego, California November 17, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Dr. Funshine, aka Caroline Meeks, M.D. teaches a laughter therapy class to a group of seniors at the Clairmont Friendship Center in San Diego, California November 17, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Life expectancy in the United States has reached an all-time high, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday.

In 2009, life expectancy increased to 78.2 years, up from 78 years in 2008, it said.

For women, life expectancy was 80.6 years, up one-tenth of a year. The life expectancy for men rose to 75.7 years, an increase of two-tenths of a year.

Life expectancy for whites increased two-tenths of a year and stayed the same for blacks.

Suicide surpassed blood poisoning to become the 10th leading cause of death, the CDC said. Heart disease remained the top killer, although death rates dropped in that category and in nine of the other top 15 causes of death.

There were 2.4 million deaths in the United States in 2009, down 36,336 from the year before, the agency said.

(Reporting by David Beasley; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Greg McCune)

FILED UNDER: