Life expectancy on the rise for older women

Sep 05, 2013

Recent findings by the World Health Organization (WHO) show that around the world, life expectancy for women over age 50 is still increasing.

 

Recent findings by the World Health Organization (WHO) show that around the world, life expectancy for women over age 50 is still increasing.

Researchers calculated life expectancy from 1985 to 2012, using data collected from countries’ vital registration data or other sources of adult mortality data in countries without usable vital registration data. Regional distributions of death in women aged 50 and older used the WHO’s cause-of-death estimates from 2008.  Death registration data was used to find cause of death and data was interpolated for countries where data were missing. In cases where the cause of death was ill-defined, the authors  reassigned cause of death. Deaths were grouped into six cause categories: communicable diseases and nutritional deficiencies, cancers, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes mellitus, chronic respiratory diseases, other noncommunicable diseases, injuries.

According to data, life expectancy at age 50 for women has increased, showing rapid gain in some countries like Japan and Brazil. In the United States, women over age 50 saw their life expectancy increase by roughly 1.8 years. Unfortunately countries undergoing difficult economic transitions (such as the Russian Federation) and facing the AIDS pandemic (like South Africa) have had life expectancy setbacks. Improvement in cancer treatments, better diabetes management, and lower rates of cardiovascular disease have all contributed to increased life expectancies in high-income countries.

Researchers project that life expectancy for women aged 50 and older will increase from 29 years in 2010 to 33 years in 2050. Because of the already high life expectancy in high-income countries, the greatest gains-5.7 years--are expected to be in South-East Asia and Western Pacific and in middle-income European countries (5.1 years).


 

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