Posted on Sep 19, 2018, 7 p.m.
Scientists have predicted human longevity extension overturning assumptions that once prevailed at the beginning of the 20th century and are predicting that life expectancy may soon exceed 90 years.
An international team of scientists have conducted a study published in the Lancet Medical Journal showing a predicted significant rise in most of the 35 developed countries studied. The USA was a noteworthy exception where combination of obesity, death of mothers and babies at birth, homicides and lack of equal access to healthcare is predicted to cause life expectancy to rise far more slowly than most comparable countries; high and rising health inequalities has stagnated and/or declined life expectancy in some population subgroups such as seen within the USA according to the researchers which is the only country in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development without universal healthcare coverage.
South Korea is likely to see the largest increase in life expectancy among developed nations with women born in 2030 being predicted to live on average to 90.8 years which is 6.6 years longer than those born in 2010. Within the USA women born in 2030 are predicted to live on average to 83.3 and men 79.5 from the 2010 figures of 81.2 for women and 76.5 for men.
France comes in as second for women predicting 88.6 years, followed by Japan at 88.4 years which is a drop after having the longest life expectancy in the world for decades. Men are predicted to have an average life expectancy of 84.1 in South Korea and 84 years in both Switzerland and Australia. The UK fall 21st with women born in 2030 predicted to live 85.2 years and 14th with men at 82.5 years.
While it is improbable to accurately forecast for natural disasters, disease outbreaks, and climate changes which may take tolls on lives around the globe, this study incorporates 21 different models of life expectancy to try to provide definitive predictions for the future.
There is 97% probability that female life expectancy at birth within South Korea in 2030 will be higher than 86.7 years, and 57% probability that it will exceed 90 years. This leading performance is due to improvements in education and economy according to the researchers. Death among children and adults from nutrition and infectious disease has dropped and has also lead to South Koreans growing taller. Obesity causing chronic diseases including heart problems, diabetes, and cancer are not huge issues there and fewer women stroke that in most western countries.
High projected life expectancy countries such as Canada, New Zealand, and Australia have high quality universal healthcare coverage to treat and prevent cancer, heart disease, fewer infant deaths, low smoking and traffic injury rates according to the researchers; as well as France and Switzerland populations having lower proportions of women which are overweight and obese.
Increasing lifespans will require more attention to social and health challenges and needs of the growing elderly populations which most countries are not ready for. These predictions not only point out the successes of health care to create these extensions, but also highlight the need to strengthen social and health care systems and establish alternative models of care.
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