JAPAN’S long-held position at the top of the world’s life expectancy table is coming to an end, only to be replaced by European rival Spain by 2040, new research has found.
Spain just edged out the sushi-loving nation, with people expected to live for an average of 85.8 years by 2040, just ahead of Japan’s 85.7 years.
Singapore was also up near the top in third place out of 195 countries, with a life expectancy of 85.4 years.
Switzerland rounded out the top four with 85.2 years. These are the only countries expected to have a life expectancy over 85 years for both men and women by 2040.
Another 59 countries, including China, Thailand and Sri Lanka, are projected to surpass a life expectancy of 80 years.
Here’s the top 10:
- Spain (85.8 years)
- Japan (85.7 years)
- Singapore (85.4 years)
- Switzerland (85.2 years)
- Portugal (84.5 years)
- Italy (84.5 years)
- Israel (84.4 years)
- France (84.3 years)
- Luxembourg (84.1 years)
- Australia (84.1 years)
The study by University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) published on Wednesday in medical journal The Lancet, highlighted the top six health drivers that most effect the future trajectory for premature mortality. These are high blood pressure, high body mass index, high blood sugar, tobacco use, alcohol use and air pollution.
Globally, most independent drivers of health were forecast to improve by 2040.
Of the high-income countries, the United States saw the biggest drop in ranking, falling from 43rd in 2016 to 64th by 2040, with an average life expectancy of 79.8. That’s an increase of only 1.1 years since 2016, well below the global average increase of 4.4 years.
Both Laos and Indonesia saw substantive gains forecasted nearing or exceeding a gain of 5 years in 2040.
Spain taking the top spot ends Japan’s long-standing reign. Last year, the number of people 90 years old and above in Japan hit the 2 million mark.
The aging population has been linked to the country’s diet in which they eat a lot of heart-healthy fish, rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Other popular foods include tofu, seaweed and octopus, all of which carry a low risk for some cancers and arteriosclerosis.
They also have one of the most accessible healthcare systems in the world. The government pays 70 percent of the cost of all health procedures and up to 90 percent for low-income citizens.