Average life expectancy set to increase by 2030

Average life expectancy is set to increase in many countries by 2030, and will exceed 90 years in South Korea, according to new research.

New study, led by Imperial College London in the United Kingdom and conducted in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO), concluded that average life expectancy will increase globally by 2030.

In 2015, global average life expectancy at birth was 71.4 years, according to the World Health Organization.

The team developed a Bayesian model averaging (BMA) system, a method that's commonly used to crunch weather data and make predictions, to analyze age data for 35 industrialized countries.

They used age-specific death rates, which reflects health during the entire life course, and then calculated life expectancy for people in various countries at birth, again at age 65, and then looked at the probability of dying before age 70.

Nations in the study included both high-income countries, such as the USA, Canada, UK, Germany, Australia, and emerging economies such as Poland, Mexico and the Czech Republic.

South Korea came out top of the predictions, with the researchers predicting a girl born in South Korea in 2030 should expect to live 90.8 years, while a boy could reach 84.1 years. This, taking into account that unhealthier lifestyles among men, including higher rates of smoking and alcohol consumption, have long meant a greater life expectancy for women.

Other top results showed that Spanish women are projected to live to 88.07 years, Portuguese women to 87.52 years, and Slovenian women to 87.42 years while Australian men are projected to live 84 years and Swiss men 83.95 years.

On the other side, the United States is due to have one of the lowest among developed countries with men and women expected to live to 79 and 83.3 years respectively. The lower outlook is due to factors such as the lack of universal healthcare and obesity.

"The biggest result is that ... at least one group is going to break the 90-year barrier," said Majid Ezzati, professor of global environmental health at Imperial College London, referring to the predictions among South Korean women. Ezzati led the study and highlighted that many experts had believed the average would never exceed 90.

"This shows that even if there is a limit to longevity, we are nowhere near it," he said. "We should be planning for more life."

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