Posted on Oct 16, 2015, 6 a.m.
Life expectancy climbs worldwide but people spend more years living with illness and disability.
Global life expectancy has risen by more than six years since 1990 as healthy life expectancy grows; ischemic heart disease, lower respiratory infections, and stroke cause the most health loss around the world. An international consortium of researchers working on the Global Burden of Disease study and led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington (Washington, USA), reports that thanks to marked declines in death and illness caused by HIV/AIDS and malaria in the past decade and significant advances made in addressing communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional disorders, health has improved significantly around the world. Global life expectancy at birth for both sexes rose by 6.2 years (from 65.3 in 1990 to 71.5 in 2013), while healthy life expectancy (HALE) – which accounts for mortality as well as the impact of nonfatal conditions – at birth rose by 5.4 years (from 56.9 in 1990 to 62.3 in 2013). "The world has made great progress in health, but now the challenge is to invest in finding more effective ways of preventing or treating the major causes of illness and disability," observes Theo Vos, the study's lead author.
Christopher J L Murray, Ryan M Barber, Kyle J Foreman, Ayse Abbasoglu Ozgoren, Foad Abd-Allah, Semaw F Abera, et al. “Global, regional, and national disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for 306 diseases and injuries and healthy life expectancy (HALE) for 188 countries, 1990–2013: quantifying the epidemiological transition.” The Lancet, August 26, 2015.