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Our Life Expectancy

Life expectancy has risen much in the last fifty years and should continue to do so also in the coming decades. Some estimates suggest that almost half of the increase in the average life span in the last 40 years can be attributed to new medicines and treatments. And according to the OECD's report 2013, improvement in living conditions, a reduction of certain risk factors such as smoking rates and obviously significant progress in health care are the main elements which explain an increasing longevity. Switzerland-82.8 years- Japan-82.7 years- and Italy lead a large group of OECD countries in which life expectancy at birth exceeds 80 years. Emerging countries such as Brazil, China or India have also achieved large gains in longevity over the past decades. If we take for example India, the life expectancy at birth - figures for 2011 - increased to 65.48 years. In 1990 it was 58.35 years and two decades earlier it was only 49.15 years. By contrast, it is interesting to note that the life expectancy in the US is 78.7 years, but this is lower than the average in the 34 countries of the OECD. It is because large numbers of people are not covered by an insurance, bad nutritional habits, social inequality etc...Finally this report outlines the significant differences in life expectancy between countries with similar income per capita. It highlights that Japan and Italy "have higher, and the US and the Russian Federation lower life expectancy than would be predicted by their GDP per capita alone". For the latter high obesity rates and the use of alcohol and tobacco have been clearly identified as leading causes. But throughout the world it is still the unemployment and the resulting precariousness which remain a major cause of a shorter life expectancy.

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