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Global Life Expectancy Increasing

December 22, 2014
Public Health

A new study published in the Lancet shows that global life expectancy has increased by six years since 1990 to 71.5 years. Researchers found that life expectancy in high income regions has increased due to falling death rates from cardiovascular disease and cancers which showed a 22% drop.

Lead author Dr Christopher Murray professor of Global Health at the University of Washington accepts the results are encouraging but there is plenty still to be done. “The progress we are seeing against a variety of illnesses and injuries is good, even remarkable, but we can and must do even better,” he said. “The huge increase in collective action and funding given to the major infectious diseases such as diarrhea, measles, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria has had a real impact However, this study shows that some major chronic diseases have been largely neglected but are rising in importance.”

Deaths from liver cancer caused by hepatitis C and atrial fibrillation and flutter have both doubled within the study period while deaths from drug use disorders have shown a 63% increase. Another area for concern has been the spread of HIV/AIDS which has erased more than five years of life expectancy in sub Saharan Africa the condition now rating as the greatest cause of premature death in 20 of the 48 sub Saharan countries. The study does however show a dramatic drop in child mortality for the under fives from 7.6 million in 1990 to 3.7 million in 2013. 

You can download a copy of the study here.