How long we all should live is like a weather gauge that measures the nation’s health climate. It’s known as “life expectancy” and should steadily increase from year to year when there’s no major events like war or epidemics. But not by much… progress depends on more people dying when they are older because of better treatments for age-related conditions.
If a country’s average life expectancy decreases, it rings alarm bells. Problems with healthcare services, poor lifestyle or social and economic adversity are some of the most likely factors at play.
New research published in the British Medical Journal this month shows many of the world’s wealthiest nations took a hit to life expectancy in 2014-15, probably due to a severe influenza season. The average decline was 0.21 years for women and 0.18 years for men.