Published: Sat, October 20, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

Japan loses title of longest life expectancy

Japan loses title of longest life expectancy

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.

Life expectancy at birth is a handy metric for studying a country's overall health and healthcare system.

Beneath Spain in the top 10 will be Japan, with a 2040 life expectancy of 85.7 years, Singapore (85.4), Switzerland (85.2), Portugal and Italy (84.5), Israel (84.4), France (84.3), and Luxembourg and Australia (84.1). The average global rise in life expectancy from 2016 to 2040 will be 4.4 years, compared to just 1.1 years in the US.

On a country level, 59 countries will either meet or exceed life expectancy level of 80 years.

In a "worse" scenario, life expectancy decreases in almost half of all countries over the next generation.

Hong Kong, which has the world's highest average life expectancy, according to Japan's welfare ministry, was not ranked in the study.

If health trends in the country continue, China's life expectancy is projected to rise to 81.9 years, and it will rank 39 on the global list by 2040.

The researchers suggest there will be an increase in death from injuries, such as vehicle accidents, and non-communicable diseases, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic kidney disease, diabetes, lung cancer, and other health issues linked to obesity.

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However, it says that there will be a significant increase in deaths from non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic kidney disease, and lung cancer.

That being said, the researchers added that there's "great potential to alter the downward trajectory of health".

"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. Air pollution ranked sixth. "In a substantial number of countries, too many people will continue earning relatively low incomes, remain poorly educated and die prematurely", he said.

Lesotho, the Central African Republic, Zimbabwe, Somalia and Swaziland are in the basement of the rankings.

The study data also showed that China will do better than the U.S. by surpassing the 80-year mark by 2040. Specifically, 87 countries will experience a decline, and 57 will see an increase of one year or more.

To make the predictions, scientists looked at the impact of 79 health factors including smoking, body mass index (BMI), and lack of clean water and sanitation on causes of death around the world. But some countries will do much better than others. They then used information on how each of these independent drivers affects specific causes of death to develop forecasts of mortality. "These scenarios offer new insights and help to frame health planning".

The study showed a rising toll from severe non-communicable diseases, worsened partly by population growth and ageing.

More generally, the world will see an acceleration of the shift already under way from communicable to non-communicable diseases, along with injuries, as the top cause of premature death.

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