Report predicts life expectancy in 2040, Spain comes out on top

A new report from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) states that people born and living in Spain, Japan, and China are likely to live longer than those born and living in the United States.

The study titled, “Forecasting life expectancy, years of life lost, and all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 250 causes of death: reference and alternative scenarios for 2016-40 for 195 countries and territories,” was published in the latest issue of the journal Lancet.

Outdoor restaurants Barcelona, Spain. Image Credit: Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock
Outdoor restaurants Barcelona, Spain. Image Credit: Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock

The study comes from a research centre that is based at the University of Washington in Seattle. The life expectancies of individuals from different countries were assessed from different sources before these results were compiled by the IHME. The IHME regularly also updates the effect of common ailments on health and life expectancy in their Global Burden of Disease (GBD) report.

Life expectancy of an individual in a population at birth determines the health of the healthcare system of a population explain the experts.

This new study came from the data collated from the 2016 GBD that lists the possible risks of death due to over 200 diseases between 1990 and 2016. The team of researchers used this data to predict the outcome of risk factors (e.g. obesity, fertility, poverty etc.) in determining life expectancy from 2017 to 2014.

Results revealed ;

  • Almost all countries would see an increase in life expectancy by 2040 but some nations would see a greater gain finds the report.
  • Spain for example would have a life expectancy of 85.8 years for a person born there in 2040. Life expectancy in Spain in 2016 is 82.9 years.
  • Spain would then rank first in life expectancy list from its present fourth position
  • Japan would have a life expectancy of 85.7 years in 2040 finds the report moving it from its first ranking now to second.
  • Singapore and Switzerland are expected to rank third and fourth in 2014 with 85.4 years and 85.2 years life expectancy respectively.
  • Others ranking fifth to tenth are Portugal (84.5 years), Italy (84.5 years), Israel (84.4 years), France (84.3 years), Luxembourg (84.1 years) and Australia (84.1 years).
  • China had a life expectancy of 76.3 years in 2016 from where it is likely to reach 81.9 years in 2040 that would change its rank from 68th presently to 39th sys the report.
  • Syria is also expected to make a huge leap from 137th rank now to 80th in 2040 because of its improvement from 68.2 years to 78.6 years.
  • Average life span of Americans would increase from 78.7 years to 79.8 years between 2016 to 2040. This slight rise would lower the ranking of US from its present 43rd among 195 nations to 64th.
  • There has been a slight dip in the life expectancy among Americans in the recent few years due to the rising opioid misuse.
  • The report analyzed the data for both best and worst case scenarios. It was noted that nearly half of the nations would lose in terms of life expectancy in the worst case scenarios
  • 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.
  • At present the major killers are infectious diseases and malaria. The report states that soon non-communicable illnesses and long term diseases such as diabetes, lung cancer, kidney disease, tobacco related ailments, obesity, high blood pressure etc. would be the major killers.

According to a statement from the lead author of the report Kyle Foreman, director of data science at IHME, “The future of the world’s health is not pre-ordained, and there is a wide range of plausible trajectories. But whether we see significant progress or stagnation depends on how well or poorly health systems address key health drivers.”

The study is available at http://www.healthdata.org and https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanchi/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)31694-5/fulltext

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