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Isle death rate 20% lower than U.S. norm


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POSTED: Thursday, December 17, 2009

People in Hawaii are more likely to live longer than residents of other states, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Adjusting for the age of the population, Hawaii's death rate of 607.7 per 100,000 is 20 percent lower than the U.S. average of 760.3 deaths per 100,000 population.

Overall, Americans are living a record 77 years and 11 months on average, as deaths from heart disease drop.

About 2.4 million people died in the United States in 2007, the latest year for which figures are available, according to a the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. After adjusting for age, that 0.76 percent death rate is the lowest ever and a 43 percent drop from 1960. A decline in deaths from heart disease and other ailments drove the trend, the CDC reported.

The National Center for Health Statistics collected mortality data from state record offices where death certificates are held. CDC researchers produce a yearly life-expectancy report.

White women have the longest life expectancy at 80.7 years, followed by black women at 77 years, according to the study.

There are also regional differences in the age-adjusted death rate, the report said. Southeastern states, including Mississippi and Alabama, have higher death rates than the rest of the U.S.

West Virginia had the highest death rate in 2007, with about 950 deaths for every 100,000 people.

The report doesn't specify why there are differences among regions.

Deaths from heart disease fell 5 percent from 2006 to 2007, according to the CDC. It credits cholesterol-lowering drugs and public-health messages about the risks of high-cholesterol diets and cigarette smoking.

Deaths from heart disease have declined steadily since the middle of the 20th century, and cancer mortality has been dropping since the 1990s.

It is likely that “;at some point in the near future, cancer will overtake heart disease as the leading cause of death in the U.S.,”; according to the report.