Global Life Expectancy Sees Huge Increase; Indian Women Live Longer Than Men

Life expectancy has escalated to a great extent since 1990 as people even in poor nations are living longer than ever, though many of them struggling with sickness and age-old ailments, finds a new study.

In India, between 1990 and 2013, life expectancy for men and women has elevated by 6.9 years and 10.3 years, respectively.


Photo Credit: Pedro Ribeiro Simões

This new study was conducted in 188 countries by an international research team working on a project called “Global Burden of Disease” and headed by Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

Owing to the deterioration of mortality and illness rates due to HIV/AIDS and malaria in the last ten years, health has enhanced to a great deal across the globe. Apart from this, meeting contagious, maternal, newborn and nutritive conditions, effectively has also added to the enhancement.

Nevertheless, healthy life expectancy (HALE) at birth hasn’t seen much improvement, thus; making those who live longer live sicker.

Theo Vos, the professor of IHME as well as who lead the study said albeit health has seen a global advancement it’s time that “more effective ways” to treat and combat disorders and diseases are discovered.

The study discovered that global life expectancy and healthy life expectancy for both genders escalated by 6.2 years and 5.4 years, respectively. However, in comparison to the life expectancy that increased from 65.3 in 1990 to 71.5 in 2013, healthy life expectancy didn’t see a drastic leap with 56.9 in 1990 to 62.3 in 2013.

Majority of the evaluated nations showed “significant and positive” healthy life expectancy changes. However, Belize, Botswana and Syria didn’t show drastic changes in HALE in 2013 as compared to 1990 with the first two nations, showing regression of 2 and 1.3 years, respectively.

In other cases, countries like Paraguay, Belarus and South Africa saw a deterioration in healthy life expectancy. For instance, places like Swaziland and Lesotho in Africa and South Africa, respectively, saw healthy life expectancy drop in individuals born in 2013 as compared to them who were born 20 years before.

People of Cambodia and Nicaragua showed gripping escalation between 1990 and 2013 with 13.9 and 14.7 years, respectively.

Nonetheless, Ethiopia was pin-pointed as one of the nations that have been giving massive efforts to make sure that their country people live both healthier and longer. For instance, in 1990, the healthy life expectancy of an Ethiopian was 40.8 years, but by 2013 with 13.5 years leap, it saw over a two-fold increase to 54.3 years.

Christopher Murray, who is the IHME director said albeit “income and education” play important roles in ensuring proper health, it doesn’t “tell the full story,” adding that weighing both healthy life expectancy and health loss on each sides at country level will facilitate “guide policies” in ensuring longer and healthier lives in every nook and cranny of the world.

Italy, Spain, Norway, Switzerland and Israel showed the lowest rates of health loss. With 42 years, in 2013, Lesotho recorded the lowest healthy life expectancy whereas with 73.4 years, Japan recorded the highest healthy life expectancy.

The findings have been published in the August 27 issue of the journal “The Lancet”.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Europe showed stagnation in showing better life expectancy during the 1990s, but after 1990 when life expectancy increased by 6 years around the world, Europe also saw some increase.

On the other hand, African nations have been showing a drop in life expectancy due to being plagued by HIV/AIDS, but now with the accessibility of antiretroviral therapy, the rates have seen an escalation. For instance, in 2000, standard life expectancy at birth was 50 years, but it saw an 8 year leap in 2013.

WHO further informed that high-income nations showed greater life expectancy at 60 years of age with expectation of the individual, living another 23 years in comparison to low-income and lower-middle income nations, which showed 17 more years of life expectancy.


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