South Korea Tops Life Expectancy Charts

If you want to reach your tenth decade, moving to South Korea could be a good idea.

A new study has revealed women living there are set to be the first in the world to have an average life expectancy of 90.

Research by Imperial College London and the World Health Organization looked at how long people lived in 35 industrialised countries.

The study made predictions using forecasting models based on current data. This showed that in South Korea, life expectancy for women will leap from 84 in 2010 to 91 by 2030.

Other countries with a high life female expectancy include France, Japan, and Spain where women are expected to live until 88 or 89 years.

At the moment, the age of life expectancy for these countries is 85.

The UK and the US, will have the lowest life expectancy of Western countries — 83 for women and 80 for men — by 2030.

What makes South Korea such a success story?

South Korea is the country with the highest projected life expectancy for men and women, Some of the factors that are making it such a healthy country include:

  • High levels of education
  • Rapid scale-up of new medical technologies.
  • Good diet – South Koreans eat double the amount of vegetables than the British do.
  • Lower body-levels of obesity.
  • Low blood pressure than most western countries’ population.
  • Lower levels of smoking in women than many western counterparts.
  • To reach the top of the life expectancy league table, countries need to be doing well in education and healthcare provision, as well as diet and lifestyle.

Miss Tania Adib, Consultant Gynaecologist at Twenty-five Harley Street believes the secret to Asian women’s longevity could lie in their diet.

“Asian women do, in general, consume a far healthier diet than British women. It’s full of oily fish, soy, green tea, fruit and vegetables.”

In South Korea, the population do not eat much processed foods or sweet things as many Western countries do. The diet is high in fish and vegetables, low in red meat. Kimchi – fermented vegetables known for their health-giving properties - are served at each meal.

The Lancet found that countries with a higher level of life expectancy have invested heavily in health and social care, as well as having healthy diets and lifestyles.

Lead researcher Professor  Majid Ezzati commented: “It’s basically the opposite of what we’re doing in the west, where there’s a lot of austerity and inequality.

Male and female gap narrowing

The study also showed the gap between male and female life expectancy is narrowing across all countries.

Prof Ezzati said on the findings: "Men traditionally had unhealthier lifestyles, and so shorter life expectancies.

"They smoked and drank more, and had more road traffic accidents and homicides, however, as lifestyles become more similar between men and women, so does their longevity."

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