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Global life expectancy is projected to increase by 5 years by 2050

Published on May 20, 2024

A man walks through a scenic natural environment.
A study of 20,000 participants shows that it is beneficial to spend 2 hours a week outdoors.

Reported by Rodielon Putol for Earth

A recent study from the prestigious Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) 2021 reveals an encouraging trend: global life expectancy is expected to rise by nearly five years by 2050, despite various global challenges.

According to the findings published in The Lancet, life expectancy for males is projected to increase by 4.9 years and for females by 4.2 years from 2022 to 2050.

This increase in global life expectancy is most significant in regions currently experiencing lower life expectancies, indicating a potential convergence in health outcomes worldwide.

The study attributes this positive shift to effective public health initiatives that have significantly curtailed the spread and impact of diseases such as cardiovascular conditions and COVID-19, along with communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases (CMNNs).

The study’s comprehensive analysis covers global life expectancy, healthy life expectancy, cause-specific mortality, disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), and more across 204 countries and territories from 2022 through 2050.

Dr. Chris Murray, Chair of Health Metrics Sciences at the University of Washington explained health inequalities between the rich and poor regions will persist, albeit to a lesser extent.

“In addition to an increase in life expectancy overall, we have found that the disparity in life expectancy across geographies will lessen,” said Dr Murray. “This is an indicator that while health inequalities between the highest- and lowest-income regions will remain, the gaps are shrinking, with the biggest increases anticipated in sub-Saharan Africa.”

Dr. Murray also emphasizes the potential for policy interventions to expedite the reduction of global disease burdens by addressing behavioral and metabolic risk factors. Strategic actions targeting lifestyle choices and health conditions can make a huge difference.

For example, policies that promote healthier diets, increased physical activity, and smoking cessation can reduce the prevalence of obesity, hypertension, and other chronic conditions.

Improving access to healthcare and preventive services, like regular screenings and vaccinations, can also help identify and manage risk factors early.

Governments can implement regulations to reduce air pollution and promote safer environments, further reducing health risks.

Such strategic actions could significantly influence the trajectory of global health, offering a brighter outlook for populations worldwide.

By prioritizing these interventions, we can lower the incidence of non-communicable diseases, improve quality of life, and increase global healthy life expectancy. This approach can lead to more equitable health outcomes and a stronger global health system.

How will cities be impacted by an increase in average life span?
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