Eighty is the new 60, at least when it comes to lifespan says new report
By 2040, the average Pole can optimistically expect to live until the age of 84.6, up from 77.9 in 2016, according to a study by academics in the United States.
Poland is currently 48th in their ranking of 195 countries, but is expected to advance several places by 2040.
The scientific study, published by academics at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in international medical journal The Lancet this autumn, forecasts life expectancy in countries around the world, ranking them against each other.
Spain is forecast to top the ranking in 2040, with the average citizen living 85.8 years, followed by Japan and Singapore.
If recent health trends continue, China could rise from 68th to 39th place in 2040, with the average life expectancy increasing from 76.3 to 81.9 years.
In contrast, some western countries could drop in the ranking. For example, in 2016, the United States ranked 43rd, with the average American living 78.7 years. Although this is forecast to rise slightly to 79.8 in 2040, the will have US dropped to 64th place.
The study’s authors highlight that health, and indeed life expectancy, can be improved by addressing risk factors, education and per capita income.
“The future of the world’s health is not pre-ordained, and there is a wide range of plausible trajectories,” highlighted the study’s lead author Dr Kyle Foreman, director of data science at the Institute.
According to Foreman, the top five health drivers shaping premature deaths are high blood pressure, high body mass index, high blood sugar, smoking and alcohol, with air pollution coming in sixth.
The ranking considers two scenarios for life expectancy in 2040: a “better” and a “worse” one, which enable policy-makers to compare how changes in health systems could make a difference.
In the better scenario, the average Pole is forecast to live 84.6 years, with the country ranking 41st worldwide. In the worse one, the average Pole would live 79.2 years, only a year or so longer than now, with the country ranking 37th, between Qatar and Panama.
Although the ranking does not account for it, there are significant differences in life expectancy between men and women.
In 2017, the average Polish man could expect to live until 74.6, compared to 81.3 for the average Polish woman, according to figures on the Institute’s website. This is longer than in 1990, when the figures were 69.7 and 75.9 respectively.
According to the Institute, the top three causes of premature death in Poland are ischemic heart disease (also known as coronary artery disease), lung cancer and stroke. Road injuries come in 12th, down from 5th in 2007.