U.S. Falling Behind in Life Expectancy

A new study says South Korean women will have an average life expectancy above 90 years by 2030, while the U.S. is projected to have one of the lowest lifespans among rich nations. The study, conducted by Imperial College London and the World Health Organization, examined life expectancy in 35 developed nations. South Korea leads the ranking, with South Korean women expected to live beyond the age of 90 thanks to the nation’s low obesity rates and overall good health care. The study’s U.S. findings weren’t as optimistic, with the average lifespan of men expected to be 80 and that of women to be 83 by 2030. Majid Ezzati, the study’s lead researcher, said the trend in the U.S. was basically the opposite of that in South Korea. Society in the U.S. is “very unequal to an extent the whole national performance is affected—it is the only country without universal health insurance,” Ezzati told the BBC. “And it is the first country that has stopped growing taller, which shows something about early-life nutrition,” he was cited as saying. The study, published in The Lancet, also showed the gap between men and women narrowing, and life expectancy increasing in most developed countries. Macedonia and Serbia were at the bottom of the list, with women’s life expectancy at 78 in the former and men’s at 73 in the latter. The study calculated the average lifespan for a baby born in 2030.