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Viva España as the UK lags behind in longevity

18 October 2018 13:13

Life expectancy in the UK is expected to rise to 83.3 years by 2040

Life expectancy in the UK is expected to rise to 83.3 years by 2040

The UK's average life expectancy is predicted to increase from 80.8 years to 83.3 years over the next 20 years, according to new research.

But while this will move the UK up from 26th place to 23rd, Britons will still be easily outlived by the Spanish, who are predicted to have a lifespan of 85.8 years by 2040.

The study shows that Spain is forecast to overtake Japan, previously ranked first, with the East Asian country having a predicted average life expectancy of 85.7 years.

Interestingly, the study also predicts the US will drop down 21 places in the longevity table, from 43rd place in 2016 to 64th in 22 years' time, with a life expectancy of 79.8 years.

Health factors

Lifespan gains around the world are likely to be checked by factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, tobacco and alcohol use, and air pollution, according to the study.

African countries continue to have the worst rates of premature death, with citizens of the Central African Republic, Lesotho, Somalia and Zimbabwe are still expected to die on average before the age of 65 by 2040.

In 2016, the last time the study was carried out, four of the top 10 causes of premature death were non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries.

The new forecast shows that by 2040 this figure increases to eight. Heart disease, stroke, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, lung cancer and road accident injuries are all in the top 10 causes of premature death in 2040.

Major risks

Dr Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, called on nations to do more to tackle major risks like smoking and poor diet.

The research, published in The Lancet medical journal, shows that, on a global scale, average lifespan for both men and women is expected to increase by 4.4 years.

The top 10 lifespans by country predicted for 2040 are as follows: Spain (85.8); Japan (85.7); Singapore (85.4); Switzerland (85.2); Portugal and Italy (both 84.5); Israel (84.4); France (84.3); Luxembourg and Australia (both 84.1).

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