Missourians are living longer, but they still don’t live as long as the average American. In 2006, the life expectancy of the average American was just over 78 years.
"Life expectancy hit a record high in 2007 of 77.4 years it went up from 77.0 the previous year and it’s up 1.8 years since 1997," said Project Specialist, Wayne Schramm with the state health department. "The principal reason is a drop in the leading causes of death of heart disease, cancer and stroke, particularly heart disease."
From 1997 to 2007 there were 4,000 fewer deaths in Missouri from heart disease, Schramm said.
"We don’t want complacency," said Program Manager Anita Berwanger with the Missouri Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program. "We still have very high rates in Missouri for heart disease and stroke. We’re much higher than the national average, so we still have a lot of work to do. It’s still the number one and number three causes of death [in the state] and there is far too many who succumb to these illnesses each year."