Health

Life expectancy up 10 years thanks to better lifestyles, says OECD

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Print this page Email A Friend!


PARIS, France (AFP) — Healthier lifestyles and higher incomes have helped increase life expectancy in the 35 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations by 10 years in the past half- century, according to a report published Friday.

The OECD's Health at a Glance 2017 report said the average life expectancy throughout the group of countries — which includes the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, and most EU nations — now stands at 80.6 years, an increase of more than 10 years since 1970.

“Healthier lifestyles, higher incomes and better education have all contributed to boost life expectancy in recent decades,” the report said.

“Better health care has also helped.”

The longest-living are the Japanese and the Swedish, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report.

Life expectancy at birth in those two countries was put at 83.9 years, with Spain and Switzerland not far off on 83 years.

At the other end of the scale of the OECD countries is Latvia, with a much lower life expectancy of 74.6 and Mexico on 75 years.

However, while some factors like a decline in smoking rates and higher health spending have helped achieve these figures, “there has been little success in tackling obesity and harmful alcohol use, and air pollution is often neglected”, the report warned.

If the rates of smoking and consumption were halved, life expectancies would rise by a further 13 months, the research found.

A main driver of the higher life expectancies has been steadily increased spending on health care, the OECD said, while pointing out that the growth has slowed since the financial crisis a decade ago.

“Health spending per capita has grown [by] around 1.4 percent annually since 2009, compared to 3.6 per cent in the six years up to 2009,” the report's summary said.

The US tops the list for health spending per capita — at US$9,862 (8,470 euros) per year, more than double the OECD average — but the report points out that the benefits are derived not just from how much money is pumped in but how effectively it is used.

“Reducing wasteful spending is key to maximise the impact of public resources on health outcomes,” the report says, pointing to the increased use of cheaper generic drugs in some countries — including the US.

Health spending per capita was also relatively high in Switzerland, Germany, Sweden and France, where it totalled 11 per cent or more of GDP.

The report also warns against the overuse of antibiotics.

Obesity remains a major problem with more than half, 54 per cent, of adults in the OECD countries overweight and nine per cent obese.

“Obesity rates are higher than 30 per cent in Hungary, New Zealand, Mexico, and the United States,” said the report.

On the plus side, fewer people are dying following heart attacks or strokes, and across the OECD countries, five-year survival rates for breast cancer are up to 85 per cent and just over 60 per cent for colon and rectal cancers.

ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT