Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Improvement in life expectancy slows

Throughout the 20th Century and the early years of this one, the UK and many other countries experienced steady improvements in life expectancy at birth.

This has been attributed to better nutrition, healthier habits among the population such as reduced smoking rates and improvements in treating infectious illnesses and conditions like heart disease.

But sine 2011 the progress has slowed, here and abroad, and ONS figures released today suggest that the slowdown is more pronounced in the UK than many similar countries.

Life expectancy is still going up, but not nearly as fast as it was.

The ONS's analysis found the slowdown in life-expectancy improvement in the UK was most pronounced in women, dropping by 90% from 12.9 weeks per year from 2006 to 2011 to 1.2 weeks from 2011 to 2012 - the biggest reduction in all of the countries it analysed. For men, this was down 76% from 17.3 to 4.2 weeks.

That part of the slowdown which is common among all rich countries may simply indicate that there are limits to how long  taking better care of people can increase life expectancy without some major technological breakthrough.

However, the fact that there is a bigger slowdown in the UK may mean that we need to look at whether we could do better.

I suspect that issues like diet, exercise and healthy weight will and should get a lot more attention.


Jim said...

there has to be a limit really, to be logical. Everything does fall apart, its entropy, the second law of thermodynamics.

but in life its logical that the body does fail after a certain amount of time, it would be a bad place with out that if it did not. We cant expect to go on increasing life expectancy at a rapid rate without thinking of the consequences regarding limited resources and an ever increasing population.

Human beings evolved and evolution and natural selection are very cruel beasts indeed, the fact of the matter is you don't matter. The species matters, and evolution works slowly over generations, so basically once you have reproduced, you are worthless, unless its to increase the possibility of your offspring's survival.

Politically (without having to go into the fact the UK government are running nothing more than a Ponzi scheme with national insurance) we see that pensions are becoming a massive burden and things.

thats the way things are, yes, sure even dogs due to increases in vet care and things now can live to over 20 years, i have never seen a 40 year old dog, even though its exercised all its life, never smoked a ciggy, and never touched a pint of beer, its just a natural cycle.

Chris Whiteside said...

it may be possible to greatly increase human life expectancy through major changes in biological technology, but as you say there is bound to be a limit to what merely improving diet and exercise and cutting disease can do.

However, we could probably do a lot better than we currently are.

Jim said...

It raises another question though, is it right to?

As I said before, and its pretty undeniable, this is a world of limited resources. yet the population of the planet is ever increasing. There lies the moral question of do we just keep expanding the population or do we not, so far the grim reaper has kept it in an increase but not out of control (well not quite, but then with the pensions and things, perhaps not)