Published: Sat, October 20, 2018
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Lifespan 2040: Us Down, China Up, Spain On Top

Lifespan 2040: Us Down, China Up, Spain On Top

The United States will take the biggest drop in ranking of all high-income countries, falling from 43rd in 2016 to 64th by 2040, with an average life expectancy of 79.8.

While this scenario does predict improvements in life expectancy for most countries, it also predicts that deaths from several noninfectious diseases will rise, the researchers reported.

Nearly all countries would see an increase in life expectancy by 2040 but some nations would see a greater gain finds the report.

The study shows that Spain is forecast to overtake Japan, previously ranked first, with the East Asian country having a predicted average life expectancy of 85.7 years.

The Palestinian life expectancy is also expected to rise, but dropped in the rankings-from 114th place and 71.9 years in 2016 to 152nd place and 72.2 years in 2040.

-Syria, which has been devastated by years of civil war and now ranks 137 on the list, with an average life expectancy of 68.2 years.

Two other countries are projected to have an average lifespan exceeding 85 years for both sexes: Singapore (85.4 years vs 83.3 years in 2016) and Switzerland (85.2 years compared with 83.3 years in 2016).

Notably the U.S. makes the biggest drop down the league table, falling from 43rd place in 2016 to 64th in 22 years' time. They will include lower respiratory infections, ischaemic heart disease - a disease characterised by reduced blood supply to the heart - Alzheimer's disease, lung cancer and chronic kidney disease.

In 2040, however, the leading causes are expected to be malaria, lower respiratory infections, HIV/AIDS, diarrheal diseases, neonatal encephalopathy due to birth asphyxia and trauma, neonatal preterm birth complications, neonatal sepsis, congenital birth defects, meningitis, and ischemic heart disease.

He said: "The future of the world's health is not pre-ordained, and there is a wide range of plausible trajectories".

"Singapore's ranking as third in the world illustrates the effectiveness of its current health systems at addressing key health drivers", said an IHME statement.

In the years to come, the biggest threats to our health and longevity will be obesity, high blood pressure and blood sugar, tobacco use and drinking alcohol, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle, US, which has produced the forecasts.

Risks that generally improve alongside gains in development such as child malnutrition, household air pollution, unsafe water and sanitation are projected to continue to decrease. "In a substantial number of countries, too many people will continue earning relatively low incomes, remain poorly educated and die prematurely", he said.

"Inequalities will continue to be large", said IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray. "But nations could make faster progress by helping people tackle the major risks, especially smoking and poor diet". In 2040, that figure is expected to rise to eight-out-of-ten. Best case, all countries will probably experience a slight increase in lifespan over the next two decades. They then used information on how each of these independent drivers affects specific causes of death to develop forecasts of mortality.

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