Live Longer

Thanks to Some Important Health Achievements and an Increased Number of Health Departments

ATLANTA, GA-People are living about 30 years longer these days than they did 100 years ago and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) attributes 25 of these years to advances in public health. The average life expectancy in 1900 in the US was 47 years and in 1996 it was up to 78 years. Chances were high in the early part of the century of dying from pneumonia and tuberculosis, but now chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer have replaced infectious diseases as the leading cause of death. The CDC credits the increased number of health departments, from about 150 in 1900 to 3,000 today, with stimulating healthcare in the US. Likewise, the CDC lists the following 10 advancements of the last century as having a profound impact on our lives:

1. Vaccinations

2. Safer workplaces

3. Safer and healthier foods

4. Motor-vehicle safety

5. Control of infectious diseases

6. Decline in deaths from coronary heart disease and stroke

7. Family planning

8. Recognition of tobacco use as a health hazard

9. Healthier mothers and babies

10. Fluoridation of drinking water