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Life expectancy to reach 90, but not in U.S.

Staff Writer |
Life expectancy at birth in the U.S. is already lower than most other developed nations and is now projected to fall further behind by 2030, according to a new study.

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It also suggests that by 2030, national female life expectancy in South Korea could break the 90 year barrier.

The study by researchers from the Imperial College of London and the World Health Organization predicts that life expectancy in the U.S. will improve only modestly to 83.3 years for women and 79.5 years for men by the year 2030, from the current figure of 81.2 years for women and 76.3 years for men.

The study, published in the Lancet, analyzed lifespans in 35 industrialized countries and predicts that life expectancy will increase in all these countries. The study used an ensemble of 21 forecasting models that all contributed towards the final projections.

According to the study, life expectancy for women is likely to be the highest in South Korea at 90.8 years, followed by France at 88.6 years and Japan at 88.4 years.

For men, South Korea, Australia, and Switzerland have highly overlapping distributions of projected life expectancy and hence similar probabilities of occupying the top three ranks.

By 2030, life expectancy for men is predicted to be highest in South Korea at 84.1 years, followed by both Australia and Switzerland at 84 years.

South Korea's gains in life expectancy are attributed to broad-based inclusive improvements in economic status and social capital, improved childhood and adult nutrition, expanded access to health care, and also rapid scale-up of new medical technologies.

Of the 35 countries studied, the U.S., Japan, Sweden, Greece, Macedonia, and Serbia have some of the lowest projected life expectancy gains for both men and women.

The authors of the study noted that the U.S. has the highest child and maternal mortality, homicide rate, and body-mass index of any high-income country.

It was the first of high-income countries to experience a halt or possibly reversal of increase in height in adulthood, which is associated with higher longevity.

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