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Move to South Korea for a longer life!

March 2017

Korean lady

Living longer is a major topic that becomes even more important as we age.

A recent report from a team of international researchers is now predicting new life expectancy rates for modern society, and has concluded that the women of South Korea will be living the longest.

The researchers say that by 2030 South Korean women could well have an average life expectancy of above 90 years. South Korean men will also fare well, with an average life expectancy of 84.1 by 2030, giving South Korea the highest life expectancy overall of any of the nations studied.

The research was published in The Lancet and funded by the UK Medical Research Council. It included  input from Imperial College in London and the World Health Organisation after they analysed the lifespans of people in 35 countries with high income or with emerging economies.

The key area of the study was looking at improvements in longevity per country rather than a table of who would actually be living the longest, but nevertheless it is interesting to see the figures.

Between last year and 2030, life expectancy in the UK is predicted to rise from 79 to 82 for men and from 83 to 85 years for women. While good to see an increase,  these figures will put women at 21st in the table out of 35 (and improvement from number 22 in the last similar calculations taken in 2010) and men 14th in the table (down from 11th position).

Chile will see a good rise in life expectancy, overtaking America with predictions of 81 years life expectancy for men and 87 for women who will be then living longer than British women. American men are predicted to reach 79.5 years and women 83.3, not so different from figures for the UK.

Australia is another country that is going really well. According to Dr James Bennett, a researcher at Imperial College, Australia is one of the top performers in improving longevity, with an average life expectancy for women by 2030 of 87.6 years. He says recent improvements in Australia including the reduction in road traffic accidents, smoking and blood pressure have all helped the nation’s people to experience better health.

Japan interestingly, a nation traditionally associated with longevity, is heading down the list as other nations improve their figures.

It is also interesting to see men catching up. The thoughts here are that men traditionally had unhealthier lifestyles, smoking and drinking more, heavier physical work and  more road traffic accidents and these are areas which are all changing.

On the downside, the report showed the life expectancies of Sweden, Greece, Macedonia and Serbia have the lowest expected increases in longevity.

Overall key facts from the report include:

  • The five countries with the highest life expectancy at birth for men in 2030 were: South Korea (84.1), Australia (84.0), Switzerland (84.0), Canada (83.9), Netherlands (83.7)

  • The five countries with the highest life expectancy at birth for women in 2030 were: South Korea (90.8), France (88.6), Japan (88.4), Spain (88.1), Switzerland (87.7)

  • The five countries with the highest life expectancy for 65-year-old men in 2030 were: Canada (22.6 additional life years), New Zealand (22.5), Australia (22.2), South Korea (22.0), Ireland (21.7)

  • The five countries with the highest life expectancy for 65-year-old women in 2030 were: South Korea (27.5 additional life years), France (26.1), Japan (25.9), Spain (24.8), Switzerland (24.6)

  • The five countries in Europe with the highest life expectancy at birth for men in 2030 were: Switzerland (84.0), Netherlands (83.7), Spain (83.5), Ireland (83.2) and Norway (83.2) 

  • The five countries in Europe with the highest life expectancy at birth for women in 2030 were: France (88.6), Spain (88.1), and Switzerland (87.7), Portugal (87.5) and Slovenia (87.4).

  • The UK's average life expectancy at birth for women will increase from 82.3 years in 2010 to 85.3 years in 2030. This places them 21st in the table of 35 countries (compared to 22nd in 2010).
     
  • The average life expectancy of a UK man at birth will increase from 78.3 years in 2010 to 82.5 years in 2030. This places them 14th in the table of 35 countries (compared to 11th in 2010). 



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