U.S. life expectancy falling further behind other countries

It seems that by 2030, South Koreans will have the highest life expectancy at birth in the world, with women living in the country expected to break the 90-year barrier first.

Life expectancy in the United States will increase to 83.3 years for women and 79.5 years for men by the year 2030, one of the lowest among developed countries, according to a study published Wednesday by Imperial College London, in collaboration with the World Health Organization.

Ranking the countries by predicted rises in life expectancy from 2010-20130 for women and men places the USA in the bottom four in each case, along with Japan, Bulgaria and Macedonia. French girls, with an average of 89, and Swiss boys, almost 84, will have the highest life expectancies in Europe. Researchers say that's because, among rich countries, the USA has the highest rates of homicide and mother and child deaths.

Studying life expectancy is important, the authors say, because increasing life expectancies will have major implications for health and social services and countries will need to adapt and create new policies to support healthy aging.

Americans rank near the bottom of the list, with life expectancies at 80 years for boys born in 2030, and 83 years for girls.

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As well as calculating life expectancy at birth, the team also predicted how many more years people who reached the age of 65 at 2030 were likely to live.

A new study suggests that average life expectancy is set to increase worldwide by 2030, both at birth and by the age of 65. It was conducted by scientists from Imperial College London, the World Health Organisation, Northumbria University and the University of Washington.

But she said Australians should be preparing for their future now to ensure they live not only longer lives, but better quality ones.

The study's lead researcher Professor Majid Ezzati said: "Men traditionally had unhealthier lifestyles, and so shorter life expectancies".

The research also showed that a 65-year-old United Kingdom man in 2030 could expect to live 20.9 years longer, while a 65-year-old woman could have an extra 22.7 years.

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The US also performs poorly and is on course to have the lowest life expectancy of rich countries by 2030. In these industrialized, high-income countries, "except in periods of war, starvation and infection outbreaks, national life expectancy has increased steadily for decades". "Otherwise we are just growing old as patients".

The study's authors held that the high rates of increase in South Korea could be a result of rising economic status, which has improved children's nutrition, lowered blood pressure, decreased levels of smoking, and increased access to healthcare and medical technology.

"I think the difference between life expectancy in Indigenious and non-Indigenous is one of our most notable, persistent and discouraging differences that we've seen in mortality in Canada".

The researchers explain that the next step of their research will be to extend their model to specific diseases as well as to all countries to provide more accurate predictions of life expectancy globally.

The US will be overtaken by Chile, where women born in 2030 will expect to live for 87 years and men for 81.

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