Life expectancy in OECD countries continues to grow and those born in 2013 will live 80.5 years on average (women 83.1, men 77.8). There are, however, significant differences between the countries – according to a report published on Wednesday. Poland ranks below average.

77.1 - that's the life expectancy of Poles

77.1 – that’s the life expectancy of Poles

Life expectancy (the expected time, which a person would live if the same living conditions as at the moment of birth prevailed) has increased in OECD countries by more than 10 years since 1970 – emphasised the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in its annual study “Health at a Glance 2015” on the state of health in the Member States.

The Japanese and the Spanish live longest

This value is “rising steadily”, by an average of 3-4 months a year, and has no signs of slowing down – informs OECD, which brings together 34 countries, including many wealthy and emerging economies, such as Mexico, Chile and Turkey.

According to the authors, this development can be explained by “lifestyle improvement”, better education and “progress in the field of health.”

On the top of the ranking are: Japan, Spain, Switzerland, Italy and France – the life expectancy for women and men (2013) is more than 82 years. The best situation is in Japan (83.4 years) and in Spain (83.2).

Poles below average

Poland, with an average of 77.1 years for men and women, ranks in the second group, where the average life expectancy is 75 to 80 years. Next to Poland were, among others, the USA, Chile, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Turkey.

Mexico (74.6 years), Hungary (75.7 years) and Slovakia (76.5 years) are at the bottom of the list.

The main causes of death in OECD countries are cardiovascular diseases (32%) and cancer (25%). In both cases, in recent years there has been little progress.

In Mexico, life expectancy is growing at a slow pace due to bad eating habits, obesity, cardiovascular disease, homicide and accidents.

As far as the United States are concerned, the study pointed out the inequality in this country and a high percentage of poor people, and the fact that many citizens do not have health insurance, as well as poor eating habits.

One of the study authors Francesca Colombo assessed at a press conference that “health care in the United States should not be a model” for other countries, as part of society is not covered, and those who have insurance, have to pay a lot for it.

There is also quite a big gap between the life expectancy of Polish women (81) and men (73), but not as big as in Estonia where the life expectancy of women is nine years longer than of men (82 vs. 73).

All because of inefficient health care

The OECD report also warns that too many people are dying because the quality of health care improves too slowly to cope with an aging population and ever increasing number of people suffering from illnesses or chronic diseases.

The report also shows that 25% of pharmaceutical expenditure are specialist medicines, in particular against cancer.

In 2013, 800 billion dollars were spent on medicines in those 34 countries. That’s 20% of all health care funds – an average of $515 per capita per year.

Americans spend the most on pharmaceuticals ($1,026), then the Japanese (752), Greeks (721), and the least – Luxembourgians (364), Poles (326), Israelis (287), Estonians (273) and Danes (240).

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