The overall US life expectancy fell slightly in 2008, from 77.9 years to (gasp) 77.8 years, according to a new report from the CDC. It’s the first drop since 2005, and just the third since 1980. Actually, to be more precise, it was the life expectancy of white Americans that fell, with both white men and women both losing an average 0.2 years, falling to 75.3 years and 80.3 years, respectively.
Black men actually saw their life expectancy rise by 0.2 years, to an all-time high of 70.2, while black women held steady at 76.8. As for what’s killing us, lung disease took an almost 8% jump, passing stroke as the third-leading cause of death, according to WebMD. Alzheimer’s disease, flu/pneumonia, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and suicide have all seen increased death rates as well. (Read more Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stories.)