Average American life expectancy increases


January 12, 2012 4:49:58 AM PST
The average life expectancy for Americans has increased from 78.6 years in 2009 to 78.7 in 2010, the latest numbers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics show.

In the meantime, death rates dropped half a percent over a one-year period and hit the lowest rate ever.

While heart disease and cancer stubbornly remain in place as the nation's leading killers, death rates declined there, as well.

Experts say better treatments and screening for many diseases may help explain this trend.