Racial gap in life expectancy reaches new low in US

Between 2003 and 2008, the gap in life expectancy between white and black men fell from 6.5 years to 5.4, Canadian researchers found. For women, it fell from 4.6 years to 3.7

By Mike Eckel
The Christian Science Monitor


The gap in life expectancy between blacks and whites in the United States, long attributed to socioeconomic disparities and a range of other factors, continued its historical decline between 2003 and 2008 and is now the smallest ever, Canadian researchers say in a new report.

The biggest factor in the narrowing of the gap, the researchers said, was an increase in the number of deaths among whites attributed to prescription drug abuse.

Most notably, within the category of unintentional injury, fatal poisonings were the leading increase among whites – by 58 percent for men and 74 percent for women between ages 20 and 54.

Dr. Harper said 80 to 90 percent of the unintentional poisoning deaths appear to be drug-related, and a big proportion of that due to opiates and abuse of prescription drugs such as oxycodone – a fact that mirrors growing public awareness of the problem of prescription drug abuse.

Read the full story here: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2012/0619/Racial-gap-in-life-expectancy-reaches-new-low-in-US

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