South Korean Women on Brink of Longevity Milestone

The US, meanwhile, could 'fall further behind'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2017 7:11 AM CST
South Korean Women on Brink of Longevity Milestone
A South Korean woman in Gwangju in 2015.   (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Life expectancy is expected to climb dramatically in most developed countries by 2030—just not in the United States. Using 21 mathematical models, scientists at Imperial College London and the WHO predict females born in the US in 2030 will live an average of 83 years compared to 81 in 2010, while males will reach 79.5 years, up from 76.5, per the BBC and the Guardian. That's "similar to the Czech Republic for men, and Croatia and Mexico for women," say researchers, stressing the US will "fall further behind" countries like South Korea due to obesity, homicides, and a lack of universal healthcare, per Vox. South Korea is expected to lead the pack for both sexes in 2030 with life expectancy at 84 for men and 91 for women—a world first.

"As recently as the turn of the century, many researchers believed that life expectancy would never surpass 90 years," but this shows "our public health and healthcare successes," says lead author Majid Ezzati. For example, South Korea has seen gains in economy and education and declines in infant mortality, cardiovascular diseases, and stomach cancers. However, the prediction also points to the need to boost healthcare programs to support a population that could live through their 80s. "We should be planning for more life," Ezzati tells CNN. France and Japan are expected to trail South Korea for female life expectancy at 88.6 years and 88.4 years, respectively. Australia and Switzerland would follow for men at roughly 84 years. (This study suggests human life has hit a ceiling.)

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