1990 vs 2013: Global life expectancy increased by more than 6 years, says study

Global life expectancy study conducted for 2013 has shown that it increased by 6.2 years, compared to 1990, according to a study published by The Lancet, which means on an average, men live 5.8 years longer and women 6.6 years more.

Attributed to decreasing mortality rates for infectious diseases and cardiovascular problems, the increase in global life expectancy was arrived at by researchers after analysing major causes of death in 188 countries.

More than 700 researchers participated in the study that was coordinated by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. It showed that the median age of death globally for men and women climbed from 65.3 years in 1990 to 71.5 years in 2013.

However, the results varied from developed to developing nations due to increased medical facilities. In the most developed regions, cancer mortality rates decreased by 15%, mainly due to a decline in cardiovascular disease by 22%, said the study.

In case of poor countries, the decline was mainly due to the decreasing mortality rate in diarrhoea, lower respiratory tract infections and neonatal health problems.

But there was a 125% jump in deaths due to liver cancer caused by hepatitis C, a 7% increase in pancreatic-cancer deaths and deaths from diabetes climbed by 9%, according to the study.

Herat related diseases still remained the main cause of death around the world, while chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, known as COPD, moved into second place, up from third in 1990.

“The progress we are seeing against a variety of illnesses and injuries is good, even remarkable, but we can and must do even better,” said the study’s lead author Christopher Murray of the University of Washington.

“The huge increase in collective action and funding given to the major infectious diseases such as diarrhoea, measles, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and malaria has had a real impact,” he said.

However, the study shows that some major chronic diseases have been largely neglected but are rising in importance, particularly drug disorders, liver cirrhosis, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease, he added.

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