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Heart disease, cancer and stroke is the leading cause of death in the U.S.
This answer choice corrects the original Subject Verb Agreement mistake, by changing the singular verb is to the plural verb are to match the plural subject Heart disease, cancer and stroke.
Note that the change of wording causes of death -> mortality causes does not entail a change of meaning.
You identified the original mistake, which is a disagreement between the plural subject (Heart disease, cancer and stroke) and the singular verb (is). However, there is a logical flaw in this answer choice: more than one cause of death is mentioned, so cause should not be singular.
This answer choice is second best. In the GMAT, it won't help you - a wrong answer is a wrong answer. The lesson to be learned here is not to jump at the first answer choice that corrects the original mistake. After eliminating answer choices that repeat the original mistake, read the remaining answer choices (i.e., those that correct the original mistake) carefully and notice all the differences between them.
This answer choice is grammatically incorrect. The subject is plural (Heart disease, cancer and stroke) while the verb is singular (is).[[snippet]]
This answer choice is grammatically incorrect. The subject is plural (Heart disease, cancer and strokes) while the verb is singular (is).[[snippet]]