Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Bad News for United States in New Study of Life Expectancy

Singaporeans can expect to live up to an average of 85.4 years in 2040 according to a global study. More Singaporeans can expect to live up to an average of 85.4 years in 2040 according to a global study. More
Delores Daniels | 20 October, 2018, 19:10

As a general rule, said researchers in the paper, their forecasts "point to a world where most populations are living longer and many health improvements are likely to occur if current trajectories hold".

New Zealand ranked 17th, with a predicted life expectancy of 83.8 years, gaining one place compared with Kiwis born in 2016 having a life span of 81.5 years. What's more, life expectancies in 158 countries would increase by at least five years, and 46 of those countries would see increases of at least 10 years, according to the report. By comparison, the United Kingdom had a lifespan of 80.8 years in 2016 and is expected to increase to 83.3, raising its rank from 26th to 23rd in 2040.

For 2040, the study puts the leading causes as: lower respiratory infections, ischemic heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, lung cancer, chronic kidney disease, liver cancer, colon and rectum cancer, stroke, hypertensive heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.

However, the report suggests there is "great potential to alter the downward trajectory of health" by addressing key risk factors, levels of education, and per capital income.

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The director of data science at the Washington institute noted: "But whether we see significant progress or stagnation depends on how well or poorly health systems address key health drivers".

Ranking a close sixth is air pollution, which scientists estimate claims a million lives a year in China alone.

China on the other hand, had a lifespan of 76.3 years in 2016 and is expected to increase to 81.9, raising its rank from 68th to 39th in 2040.

Beneath Spain in the top 10 will be Japan, with a 2040 life expectancy of 85.7 years, Singapore (85.4), Switzerland (85.2), Portugal and Italy (84.5), Israel (84.4), France (84.3), and Luxembourg and Australia (84.1). The Asian country will fall back to second place in 2040 with 85.7 years.

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The UK's average life expectancy is predicted to increase from 80.8 years to 83.3 years over the next 20 years, according to new research. In 2040, that figure is expected to rise to eight-out-of-ten. And the difference between the best and worst future would be especially profound for the poorest ranked countries. "In a substantial number of countries, too many people will continue earning relatively low incomes, remain poorly educated and die prematurely", he said.

South Africa for example would have a life expectancy of 75.3 years by 2040 in the best possible scenario and 54.3 years if things do not go right says the report. For Singapore, the top three in 2040 are forecast to be lower respiratory infections, such as pneumonia, followed by dementia and ischaemic heart disease.

The researchers' conclusions were based on data from the 2016 Global Burden of Disease study, which highlighted the main factors behind sickness, disability and death in individual countries. They then used information on how each of these independent drivers affects specific causes of death to develop forecasts of mortality.

More generally, the world will see an acceleration of the shift already under way from communicable to non-communicable diseases, along with injuries, as the top cause of premature death.

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