A large global study has found that average life expectancy will increase in multiple countries by 2030, surpassing the 90-year mark in certain areas. Policymakers will have to take this rising trend into account in their domestic policies for the future, the study recommended.
South Koreans will have the highest life expectancy in the world by 2030 while the United States will have among the lowest among first-world countries, the study found.
“The fact that we will continue to live longer means we need to think about strengthening the health and social care systems to support an ageing population with multiple health needs,” said Majid Ezzati, a professor at Imperial College London’s school of public health and a leading researcher of the study.
Conducted in conjunction with World Health Organization (WHO) researchers, the study found that male and female Americans will only live an average of 79.5 and 83.5 years respectively in 2030, similar to middle-income nations Mexico and Croatia.
The study links the relatively low life expectancy rate to a lack of universal healthcare in the U.S. It further blames relatively high child and maternal mortality rates as well as high rates of obesity and homicides.
In Europe, French women and Swiss men are expected to have the highest life expectancy, averaging 88.6 years for French women and nearly 84 years for Swiss men.
South Korea ranked first on the predictions list, with the study group estimating a girl born in South Korea in 2030 will likely live 90.8 years, while a boy, 84.1 years.
South Korea’s increasingly high life expectancy is linked to good childhood nutrition, low blood pressure, low levels of smoking and good access to healthcare as well as new medical knowledge and technologies, the scientists said.
“Many people used to believe that 90 years is the upper limit for life expectancy, but this research suggests we will break the 90-year-barrier,” Ezzati said.
“We repeatedly hear that improvements in human longevity are about to come to an end.. (but) I don’t believe we’re anywhere near the upper limit of life expectancy – if there even is one.”
The study was published in The Lancet medical journal on Wednesday and evaluated 35 developed and developing countries, such as the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, Australia, Poland, Mexico and the Czech Republic.