Life expectancy around the world increased by 6.2 years between 1990 and 2013, according to a study published by The Lancet.
Men, on average, are living 5.8 years and women have gained an additional 6.6 years, due largely to decreasing mortality rates for infectious diseases and cardiovascular problems.
The study, analysing major causes of death in 188 countries, was carried out by an international consortium of more than 700 researchers and coordinated by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
The median age of death globally for both sexes climbed from 65.3 years in 1990 to 71.5 years in 2013.
In the world’s most developed regions, cancer mortality rates decreased 15 percent, while the rate of mortality due to cardiovascular disease fell 22 percent.
Poor countries witnessed declines in mortality due to diarrhoea, lower respiratory tract infections and neonatal health problems.
At the same time, there was a 125 percent jump in deaths due to liver cancer caused by hepatitis C, a 7 percent increase in pancreatic-cancer deaths and deaths from diabetes climbed 9 percent.
Cardiovascular accidents remained as the main cause of death around the world, while chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, known as COPD, moved into second place, up from third in 1990.
“The progress we are seeing against a variety of illnesses and injuries is good, even remarkable, but we can and must do even better,” the study’s lead author Christopher Murray, professor of Global Health at the University of Washington, said.
“The huge increase in collective action and funding given to the major infectious diseases such as diarrhoea, measles, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and malaria has had a real impact. However, this study shows that some major chronic diseases have been largely neglected but are rising in importance, particularly drug disorders, liver cirrhosis, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease,” he said.
GBD 2013 Mortality and Causes of Death Collaborators. Global, regional, and national age–sex specific all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 240 causes of death, 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013
The Lancet,Published Online: 17 December 2014