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Mortality Trends Tell Us How We're Doing

Paul T. Kefalides, MD
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Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1998;129(2):170-172. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-129-2-199807150-00043
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The emerging data from mortality studies of the major illnesses of U.S. adults are a sensitive gauge of our medical and public health system's progress against disease. Through statistical analysis of death certificates, epidemiologists have credited the U.S. health care system with an overall reduction in death rates and an increase in life expectancy. In 1996, the nationwide age-adjusted mortality rate reached an all-time low, and the average life expectancy reached an all-time high of 76.1 years.

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