Medical

Why South Koreans are set to live longest

Why South Koreans are set to live longest”

It showed that all nations in the study, both developed and developing countries, could see increased life expectancy with South Koreans seeing the longest lives.

Life expectancy improves with better healthcare services and proper care for children during first few years of their life. "Not only does the U.S. have high and rising health inequalities, but also life expectancy has stagnated or even declined in some population subgroups", write the authors. "Our population is aging, but are they healthier?" Retirement age may also have to change, they note.

The research - undertaken by the World Health Organization and Imperial College London - assessed life expectancy rates of 35 developed countries across the globe. Life expectancy for babies born in the United States in 2030 is predicted to be 83.3 in 2030 for women and 79.5 for men, a small rise from the 2010 figures of 81.2 and 76.5 respectively.

It now has the highest life expectancy for women, but will be overtaken by both South Korea and France, the study suggests. On the other hand, Americans are expected to have one of the lowest life expectancies among the industrialized countries with an average life expectancy of 80 for men and 83 for women.

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The prediction is both a blessing and a burden as more of us can look forward to getting the most out of our golden years. A baby girl born in 2030 can expect to live 6.6 years longer in South Korea, 4.7 years longer in Slovenia, and 4.4 years longer in Portugal than a baby girl born in 2010. While for men life expectancy will increase most in Hungary, South Korea and Slovenia (7.5, 7.0 and 6.4 years).

The researchers point out the U.S.is the only country in the study without universal health coverage.

This is due to several factors, such as a lack of universal healthcare, relatively high child and maternal mortality rates, and high rates of homicides and obesity, according to the study.

The researchers calculated a country's life expectancy at birth by assessing the age at which people die across the whole population. While most developed countries are looking at a similar trend, the United States is an exception.

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Men who reach 65 will be expected to live to 86 while women of 65 will have a life expectancy of 88.

The World Health Organisation has been spearheading a program to encourage governments to develop policies for coping with ageing populations, according to Yvonne Wells, a professor of aged care at La Trobe University. In most places, gains in life span will come more from postponing death among older people, rather than eliminating killers of the young and middle-aged, such as infections.

"This is the story of disinvestment in the social and in the health-care system that the effects of it are showing up in this simple and very powerful measure of their well-being, which is life expectancy", Ezzati said in a journal podcast about the US situation.

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