(14 November 2017) – Healthier lifestyles, higher incomes and better education have all contributed to boost life expectancy in recent decades. Better health care has also helped, according to a new OECD report.
Health at a Glance 2017 says that all OECD countries have seen life expectancy at birth increase by over 10 years since 1970 to reach an average of 80.6 years. Life expectancy at birth is highest in Japan (83.9 years), and Spain and Switzerland (83 years each), and lowest in Latvia (74.6) and Mexico (75).
New analysis in the report reveals that if smoking rates and alcohol consumption were halved, life expectancies would rise by 13 months.
A 10% increase in health spending per capita in real terms would, on average, boost life expectancy by 3.5 months. However it is not just spending per se, but also how resources are used, that makes the difference in life expectancy.
There is a large variation in the link between changes in health spending and in life expectancy: in the United States, for example, health spending has increased much more than in other countries since 1995, yet life expectancy gains have been smaller.