Thursday 29 September 2016

Ireland has 25th-highest life expectancy in the world

Published 29/08/2015 | 02:30

The elderly should be cherishedLife expectancy is climbing worldwide but we are spending more years living with illness and disability
The elderly should be cherishedLife expectancy is climbing worldwide but we are spending more years living with illness and disability

Ireland has the 25th-highest life expectancy in the world - up from a ranking of 31 in 1990, according to a new global survey.

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Life expectancy is climbing worldwide but we are spending more years living with illness and disability.

Countries with the highest life expectancy are Japan, Singapore, Andorra, Iceland, Cyprus and Israel, according to the Global Burden of Disease study, led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

Life expectancy in Andorra is almost 84 years, while it is 80.4 in Ireland. The UK is ahead of Ireland with people living to 81 years.

Since 1990 Ireland's life expectancy has improved by around six years, the survey of 189 countries revealed.

People around the world are living longer, even in some of the poorest countries, but a complex mix of fatal and non-fatal ailments cause a tremendous amount of health loss, according to the analysis .

Healthy life expectancy takes into account not just mortality but also the impact of non-fatal conditions and summarises years lived with disability and years lost due to premature death.

The increase in healthy life expectancy has not been as dramatic as the growth of life expectancy, and as a result, people are living more years with illness and disability.

"The world has made great progress in health, but now the challenge is to invest in finding more effective ways of preventing or treating the major causes of illness and disability," said Professor Theo Vos, the study's lead author.

The differences between countries with the highest and lowest healthy life expectancies are stark. In 2013, Lesotho had the lowest, at 42 years, and Japan had the highest globally, at 73.4 years.

Even regionally, there is significant variation.

Cambodians and Laotians born in 2013 would have healthy life expectancies of only 57.5 years and 58.1 years, respectively, but people born in nearby Thailand and Vietnam could live nearly 67 years in good health.

The fastest-growing global cause of health loss between 1990 and 2013 was HIV/AIDS, which increased by 341.5pc. But this dramatic rise masks progress in recent years.

Irish Independent

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