Life expectancy in Kenya is set to hit 73.9 years [67·2–78·1] by 2040, according to the latest study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). This was will be an increase of 10.5 years from the current average of 63.4.

The study titled, “Forecasting life expectancy, years of life lost, and all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 250 causes of death: reference and alternative scenarios for 2016-40 for 195 countries and territories,” was published in the latest issue of the journal Lancet.

According to the study, reference forecasts put several countries in sub-Saharan Africa on the trajectory to reach similar levels of life expectancy, including Rwanda (74·8 years [66·2–81·1]) and Nigeria (74·8 years [71·5–78·3]. In 2040, four countries in sub-Saharan Africa were projected to have life expectancies less than 65 years (Central African Republic, Lesotho, Somalia, and Zimbabwe),  indicating global disparities in survival are likely to persist if current trends hold.

People of both sexes in Spain will live for 85.8 years on average, marginally edging out expected lifespans in Japan (85.7), Singapore (85.4) and Switzerland (85.2).

By 2040, 59 countries were projected to meet or exceed a life expectancy of 80 years. Beyond most high-income countries, such locations included those in Latin America (eg, Cuba, Peru, Colombia, and Chile), southeast Asia (eg, Thailand and Sri Lanka), and China. China surpassed a life expectancy of 80 years by 2040 (81·9 years [78·6–84·2]), and also recorded higher levels than the USA (79·8 years [76·3–82·9]). Russia, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and other central Asian countries all had forecasted life expectancy between 75 and 80 years by 2040 while India and Pakistan were just below 75 years.

Globally, the report says most independent drivers of health were forecast to improve by 2040, but 36 were forecast to worsen. Going by the better health scenarios, greater progress might be possible, yet for some drivers such as high body-mass index (BMI), their toll will rise in the absence of intervention.

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“We forecasted global life expectancy to increase by 4·4 years (95% UI 2·2 to 6·4) for men and 4·4 years (2·1 to 6·4) for women by 2040, but based on better and worse health scenarios, trajectories could range from a gain of 7·8 years (5·9 to 9·8) to a non-significant loss of 0·4 years (–2·8 to 2·2) for men, and an increase of 7·2 years (5·3 to 9·1) to essentially no change (0·1 years [–2·7 to 2·5]) for women,” its authors say.

Forecasted Years of Life Lost (YLLs) showed a rising toll from several non-communicable diseases (NCDs), partly driven by population growth and ageing. Differences between the reference forecast and alternative scenarios were most striking for HIV/AIDS, for which a potential increase of 120·2% (95% UI 67·2–190·3) in YLLs (nearly 118 million) was projected globally from 2016–40 under the worse health scenario.

Compared with 2016, NCDs were forecast to account for a greater proportion of YLLs in all GBD regions by 2040 (67·3% of YLLs [95% UI 61·9–72·3] globally); nonetheless, in many lower-income countries, communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional (CMNN) diseases still accounted for a large share of YLLs in 2040 (eg, 53·5% of YLLs [95% UI 48·3–58·5] in Sub-Saharan Africa).

The study says there were large gaps for many health risks between the reference forecast and better health scenario for attributable YLLs. In most countries, metabolic risks amenable to health care (eg, high blood pressure and high plasma fasting glucose) and risks best targeted by population-level or intersectoral interventions (eg, tobacco, high BMI, and ambient particulate matter pollution) had some of the largest differences between reference and better health scenarios.

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The main exception was sub-Saharan Africa, where many risks associated with poverty and lower levels of development (eg, unsafe water and sanitation, household air pollution, and child malnutrition) were projected to still account for substantive disparities between reference and better health scenarios in 2040.

The top 10 based on life expectancy forecast for 2040:

  1. Spain (85.8 years)
  2. Japan (85.7 years)
  3. Singapore (85.4 years)
  4. Switzerland (85.2 years)
  5. Portugal (84.5 years)
  6. Italy (84.5 years)
  7. Israel (84.4 years)
  8. France (84.3 years)
  9. Luxembourg (84.1 years)
  10. Australia (84.1 years)

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