The J- he health of people continues to improve in the United States. Currently, the life expectancy at birth is 75 years of age. Life expectancy for white Americans has increased by about three months per year since 1970; the increase for black Americans has been about 4.5 months per year.1 Although infant mortality rates have continued to decline to an all-time low of less than 11 deaths per 1,000 live births, concern has been expressed that the United States is not realizing its potential to decrease infant mortality to the level demonstrated in some countries.1
In contrast to the heartening improvements, about two thirds of all deaths in this country are premature, given our present medical knowledge, and about two thirds of all years of life lost before age 65 are theoretically preventable given our current capabilities (Closing the Gap: National Health Policy Consultation. Atlanta, The Carter
Foege WH. Public Health and Preventive Medicine. JAMA. 1985;254(16):2330–2332. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360160162048
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