Improving Health

Discoveries emerging from NIH-supported research have led to new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat illness, ultimately improving the health of the nation and the world.

Improvements in health are reflected in U.S. trends over time for an increase in life expectancy and a decrease in death rate. For example, between 1970 and 2020, the life expectancy of the average American increased by 6 years, from 70.8 to 77.0. Between 1969 and 2020, the death rate in the U.S. for all causes has decreased by 35%, from 1279 per 100,000 people to 835.

Explore the sections below to discover more about how NIH improves health.

Printer-friendly version of this page


Our Stories

The knowledge produced by NIH-supported research can take many years and pass through many stages on its pathway toward improving health. Explore stories of how NIH has contributed to successful health interventions, and how these interventions have made a difference in our lives.

This page last reviewed on April 10, 2023