Magazine article Science News

U.S. Health: The Good and the Bad

Magazine article Science News

U.S. Health: The Good and the Bad

Article excerpt

U.S. health: The good and the bad

In the United States, blacks have a shorter lifespan than whites, according to the most recent health statistics compiled by the U.S. Public Health Service. Blacks increasingly are dying of AIDS, pneumonia and homicide, says Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Louis W. Sullivan.

In a report released last week, the agency says the average black child born in 1986 will live an estimated 69.4 years, down from 69.5 years in 1985. In contrast, the average white American's lifespan keeps getting longer. The average white child born in 1986 will live about 75.4 years, up from 75.3 years in 1985, the report notes.

Infant mortality rates, one key indicator of the nation's health, continue at a disturbing level. "The mortality rate for black infants remains twice as high as that for whites," Sullivan says. Black infants die at a rate of 18 per 1,000 live births, compared with the white infant death rate of 8. …

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