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We may live beyond 90 years by 2030. But are we prepared for it?

Improved healthcare and medical advancements are making humans live longer than ever before. But do we have the needed resources to support an ageing population?

health and fitness Updated: May 07, 2017 13:53 IST
Reuters, London
Life Expectancy,Older Population,Healthcare
In Europe, French women and Swiss men are likely to live the longest in 2030, say researchers.(Shutterstock)

Average life expectancy will rise in many countries by 2030, with some of us living well beyond 90 years, claimed a large international study published in The Lancet on Wednesday.

Led by Imperial scientists in collaboration with the World Health Organization, the study suggested that policymakers need to work towards building the necessary infrastructure to support longer lives and older people.

Though the study covered 35 developed and emerging countries, including the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, and Australia, it did not mention anything about India.

“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, the lead researcher and a professor at Imperial College London’s school of public health.

With average life expectancy pegged at 90.8 years for women and 84.1 years for men, South Korea may have the longest living people in the world by 2030.

Researchers pointed out several factors such as good childhood nutrition, low blood pressure, low levels of smoking and good access to healthcare, and new medical knowledge and technologies, for South Korea’s much greater average life expectancy.

However, among high-income countries, the United States is likely to have the lowest life expectancy in 2030, with men and women expecting to live 79.5 and 83.3 years respectively — same as people in middle-income countries like Croatia and Mexico.

This was partly due to a lack of universal healthcare in the United States, and due to other factors such as relatively high child and maternal mortality rates, and high rates of homicides and obesity, the study said.

In Europe, French women and Swiss men were predicted to have the highest life expectancies, averaging 88.6 years for French women and nearly 84 years for Swiss men.

“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.”

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First Published: Feb 22, 2017 12:47 IST