Males in Switzerland now have the longest life expectancy of any men in the world, say the latest global public health statistics. But Swiss women have less of an edge on the rest of the world than four years ago, falling from second to sixth place in expected lifespan.
The World Health Organization (WHO) life expectancy statistics, presented Wednesday in Geneva, place Swiss men above Icelanders, who held the top spot in the report’s last edition in 2012. Boys born in Switzerland can expect to live to the age of 81.3 years, considerably above the world average of 69.1 years.
Swiss women live to an average age of 85.3 years, the same life expectancy as those from Spain and an increase over 2012 when their expected lifespan was 85. In 2016, Swiss women were surpassed in life expectancy by those from Singapore, South Korea, France and Japan, which took the top spot.
There are large regional disparities in life expectancy, according to the WHO report. Whereas newborns in 29 high-income countries are expected to live 80 years or more, those in 22 others – all in sub-Saharan Africa – have a life expectancy of less than 60 years.
Overall, global life expectancy increased by five years between 2000 and 2015.
“The world has made great strides in reducing the needless suffering and premature deaths that arise from preventable and treatable diseases,” said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “But the gains have been uneven. Supporting countries to move towards universal health coverage based on strong primary care is the best thing we can do to make sure no-one is left behind.”
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