If recent health trends continue, the average Singaporean can expect to live longer lives in 2040, according to a new study by a global health research organisation released on Wednesday (17 October).
The study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington projects that Singaporeans can live up to an average of 85.4 years in 2040, up 2.1 years from the average of 83.3 years in 2016.
This ranks Singapore third-longest in average life expectancy in 2040 among 195 countries and territories, with Spain taking first spot (85.8 years) and Japan in second (85.7). Other countries in the top 10 are expected to be Switzerland, Portugal, Italy, Israel, France, Luxembourg and Australia.
The study, published in The Lancet Journal, also projects that the top 10 causes of premature death in Singapore in 2040 will largely be similar to current leading causes. They will include lower respiratory infections, ischaemic heart disease — a disease characterised by reduced blood supply to the heart — Alzheimer’s disease, lung cancer and chronic kidney disease.
However, it says that there will be a significant increase in deaths from non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic kidney disease, and lung cancer.
Also, instead of suicide and breast cancer, which are among the leading causes now, hypertensive heart disease and COPD will be among the top 10 causes in 2040.
Dr Kyle Foreman, the institute’s director of data science and lead author of the study, said, “The future of the world’s health is not preordained, and there is a wide range of plausible trajectories. But whether we see significant progress or stagnation depends on how well or poorly health systems address key health drivers.”
He added that the top health drivers that explain most of the future trajectory for premature death are high blood pressure, high body mass index, high blood sugar, tobacco use and alcohol use.
Fifty-nine countries, including China, are projected to surpass a life expectancy of 80 years by 2040. Other nations that are expected to substantially increase their life expectancy ranking in 2040 include Syria, Nigeria and Indonesia.
At the same time, Central African Republic, Lesotho, Somalia, and Zimbabwe have projected life expectancies below 65 years in 2040, indicating persistent global disparities in survival if current trends hold.
Palestine is expected to see the biggest dip in ranking, alongside the United States, which is expected to drop from 43rd position in 2016 to 64th in 2040, with average lifespan at 79.8 years — the biggest decrease for high income countries.
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