U.S. life expectancy drops for first time in 23 years

Life expectancy in the United States declined last year for the first time since 1993, according to a new report by the National Center for Health Statistics. The drop may seem minor; overall life expectancy fell by only about a month, from 78.9 years in 2014 to 78.8 in 2015. But what troubles researchers most is that fatality rates rose for eight of the top ten causes of death, including heart disease, diabetes, and suicide, The Washington Post reports. Other Western nations, however, have not seen similar increases, which researchers say should fuel urgency in investigating what unique issues are at play in the United States. The one uptick? Fewer people died from cancer last year, likely due to lower rates of smoking, earlier detection, and advances in treatment.

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