About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Life Expectancy Declines in Both Developed and Developing Countries

by Rishika Gupta on January 30, 2018 at 4:07 PM
Font : A-A+

Life Expectancy Declines in Both Developed and Developing Countries

Increase in human life expectancy has slowed down all over the world since 1950, finds a new study. The findings of this study are published in the journal BMC Public Health.

Life expectancy gains are physiological and psychological benefits that may increase the lifespan of a person. These gains can be observed in terms of money spent on healthcare and gaining the above said benefits.

Advertisement


Although a "ceiling effect" is expected as average lifespan approaches its biological limit, the study found that the trend towards slower gains--and even declines--in lifespan is worst among low-lifespan countries.

"This is not about us hitting the ceiling; the slowdown has been sharpest in countries that have the most life expectancy to gain," says David Bishai, Ph.D., professor in the Bloomberg School's Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health.
Advertisement

The findings does not have a clear explanation, although it shows that progress in health technology since 1950 has not been enough to keep longevity increasing at its historic rates in populations.

"It's a rebuke to the idea that you can fix global health just by inventing more stuff," Bishai says, adding "New health technology has been essential to making strides in life expectancy, of course, but our predecessors in the 1950s were making faster progress with the basics of soap, sanitation and public health."

Bishai and Carolina Cardona, a Ph.D. student at the Bloomberg School, examined life expectancy data for 139 countries and for each one calculated the "decadal" life expectancy gain--the gain from a given year to a decade later--during the period 1950-2009.

The analysis revealed that for the total sample, the mean decadal gain started at an impressive 9.7 years during the 1950s but fell more or less steadily to just 1.9 years during the 2000s. The study did not break down data by country or region.

Cardona and Bishai stratified the countries in the sample by their life expectancies and found that the highest lifespan countries, with life expectancies at birth of at least 71 years, declined from a mean decadal gain of 4.8 years in the 1950s to 2.4 years in 2000-2010. That result was unsurprising, given that life expectancies in these countries are approaching the maximum lifespan of 71-83 years.

However, the researchers found an even steeper decline in countries in the lowest stratum of lifespan, with life expectancies under 51 years. For countries in this category, the mean decadal change in life expectancy dropped continuously from a promising gain of 7.4 years in the 1950s to a worrisome loss of 6.8 years in the 2000s. In other words, the low-lifespan countries on average went from experiencing big gains to sharp declines in life expectancy.

Bishai notes that the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which generally hit hardest in low-lifespan countries, is a factor in this trend but doesn't fully explain it. "The slowdown in life expectancy gains started before AIDS hit in the 1980s and 90s and occurred even in regions that did not have big problems with this disease," he says.

Another potential factor relates to changes during 1950-2009 in the methods used to calculate life expectancy, but again Bishai thinks that can't be the whole answer. "The slowdown trend persisted through the 1970s and 2000s when demographers started using more modern methods," he says.

He suspects that an important driver of the overall trend is a widespread failure of governance. "Nowadays, the countries with persistently low life expectancy are countries that generally are fragile states--some are not even trying to increase their life expectancy," Bishai says.

That, in turn, suggests that global public health efforts need to be about more than providing health technologies. "We need also to promote political will and social consensus for public health measures in the countries that need it most. If the national government is underperforming, public health can act on political will in districts and villages." he says, "We used to be good at this, and if we can get it back, then I think we can again see the kinds of improvements we were seeing in the 1950s."

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Turmeric: Magic Ingredient to Keep you Healthy in Winter
Top 7 Benefits of Good Oral Hygiene
Healthy and Safer Thanksgiving 2021
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Directing the Course to Healthy Aging 

Recommended Reading
Smoking can Lead to Decrease in Life Expectancy in Less Educated Women
Lesser Increase in life expectancy due to smoking can be observed in women who are less educated....
Apathy Decreases Life Expectancy in Nursing Home Patients
Apathy is lack of motivation and a lack of cognition and emotional affect, commonly seen in nursing ...
Life Expectancy Reduces With Increased Air Pollution: Study
An increase in air pollution decreases victims' life expectancy by 9-11 years more and the ......
What is the Life Expectancy of Patients With Parkinsonís Disease, Lewy Body Dementia?
Answers for questions related to life expectancy of patients with Parkinson's disease, Lewy body ......
Directing the Course to Healthy Aging
An understanding of the rise in the aging population over the years and the need for attention to im...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use