Atlanta Life expectancy is about six years shorter for blacks than whites, and homicide is a leading contributor to the racial gap, a government study said Thursday.
Homicide adds about seven months to the gap, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in what it called the first report analyzing life expectancy by race and cause of death.
Overall life expectancy is about 75 years for whites and 69 years for blacks, the CDC report said.
Heart disease and cancer were the leading causes of the difference between the two races. Life expectancy for whites with each of those diseases was more than a year longer than for blacks, the CDC said.
Health officials expected that much because heart disease and cancer are the nation's two leading causes of death overall, and medical experts have long said that blacks often suffer from poorer medical care.
The next leading cause of the difference was homicide, which ranks just 13th on the overall list of causes of death for Americans.
"It's pretty dramatic," said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, an epidemiologist in CDC's Division of Violence Prevention. "We were surprised to see that homicide is such a major player."