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Global life expectancy, poor health to rise by 2050: Study

IANS May 18, 2024

Despite geopolitical, metabolic, and environmental threats, a new study on 17 May showed that global life expectancy is expected to increase by 4.9 years in men and 4.2 years in women by 2050.

However, people are likely to spend more years in poor health, revealed the study based on the latest findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) 2021, published today in The Lancet journal.

Researchers attributed this to an increased shift from a range of communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases (CMNNs) to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) -- like cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes.

Global life expectancy is predicted to increase to 78.1 years of age in 2050 (a 4.5-year increase). Global healthy life expectancy (HALE) - the average number of years a person can expect to live in good health -- will increase to 67.4 years in 2050 (a 2.6-year increase).

"In addition to an increase in life expectancy overall, we have found that the disparity in life expectancy across geographies will lessen," said Chris Murray, Chair of Health Metrics Sciences at the University of Washington and Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

Murray added that the biggest opportunity to speed up reductions in the global disease burden is through policy interventions aimed at preventing and mitigating behavioural and metabolic risk factors.

"There is immense opportunity ahead for us to influence the future of global health by getting ahead of these rising metabolic and dietary risk factors, particularly those related to behavioural and lifestyle factors like high blood sugar, high body mass index, and high blood pressure," Murray said.

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