And the Winner Is…
Life expectancy has shown increases over the centuries. But, for the first time ever, it will soon exceed 90 years. The country with the most promise? South Korea. A new study has found that women born here in 2030 are projected to live until 90.8 on average – 6.6 years longer than women born in 2010. Many other countries are following right behind, with life expectancies falling just short of 90.
Despite external factors, such as natural disasters and disease pandemics that should be accounted for in predicting life expectancy, scientists are seeing a significant rise in the 35 developed countries involved in the study. The findings, which come from an international team of scientists funded by the UK Medical Research Council and the US Environmental Protection Agency, are published in the journal The Lancet.
The table above shows the change in life expectancy between men and women born in 2030. In most cases, women are typically expected to live longer than men. But surprisingly, the only country in the study that doesn’t seem to have the same significant rise as the other countries is the U.S.
“Not only does the US have high and rising health inequalities, but also life expectancy has stagnated or even declined in some population subgroups,” stated the authors of the study. So wouldn’t it be common sense to tackle our stagnant life expectancy rate by modeling our practices based off of countries such as South Korea?
Increasing Longevity Through Other Means
For many years, researchers have been trying to find answers to our longevity question. How do we achieve the famed 120 years of age? Scientists have set to find out through numerous studies. For example, one study released in 2006 by Linda Waite from the University of Chicago, showed that happily married couples typically lived longer than single individuals. Her findings showed that married men lived 10 years longer, on average, than single men. The same goes for women, with a four year gap difference.
For a while, calorie-restricted diets were believed to increase longevity and slow down the aging process. Cutting out 20 to 40 percent of the recommended energy content would help to maintain a healthy body mass. Less obesity, less risk of health complications. Dietary restrictions were even shown to significantly increase life expectancy across 145 different studies.
For men in particular, testosterone therapy is believed to help with lowering risks of stroke and heart disease, although how it precisely affects one’s survival rate is still unknown. And yet, perhaps the answer to increased longevity lies in gene editing, where humans now have the power to personalize their own health.
But also, perhaps the answer has always been simple. Care more for the countries’ people by providing greater access to health care – stop smoking, eat healthy, stress less, and exercise. If you’re healthy, you’re bound to get sick less if you have a normal immune system. Maybe the South Koreans have had the answer all along, and Americans must look to them to solve the issue of being the slowest developed country to increase their population’s life expectancy rate.