HEALTHY: Mediterranean diet

PEOPLE living in Spain are set to have the longest life expectancy in the world by 2040 while the UK will sit in 23rd place, a study has revealed.

Beating Japan in second place, Spanish residents are predicted to enjoy an average lifespan of 85.8 years thanks to a healthy Mediterranean diet, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in Seattle.

Experts believe the biggest threats to wellbeing and human lifespan will be high blood pressure and blood sugar, obesity and tobacco and alcohol consumption.

“Spain does really well in those,” Dr Christopher Murray, director of the IHME at the University of Washington told The Guardian, “although tobacco is an area where they could be better. But current life expectancy is very good.”  

In 2016, Japan held the title for the world’s highest life expectancy, due to a well-balanced diet with more fish than red meat, plenty of vegetables and pickled and fermented foods – which are strong probiotics – and very little processed food and sugar.

Experts say every country is expected to see a small increase in life expectancy but it will be slower than previous years.

The rise is likely as long as official policies are adopted to clamp down on smoking, reduce obesity levels and improve clean water supplies and air pollution.

Currently in 26th place, the UK is predicted rise up to 23rd place with life expectancy increasing from 80.8 years to 83.3 years in 2040.

Top risks for UK residents will be Alzheimer’s disease, lung cancer, ischaemic heart disease, lower respiratory infections, stroke, colon and rectum cancer, breast cancer and pancreatic cancer.

However, experts insist there is ‘great potential to alter the downward trajectory of health’ by dealing with risk factors and improving education and income.

The nation at the bottom of the league is Lesotho in southern Africa, with a life expectancy of just 57.3 by 2040, while experts warn that a resurgence of HIV and Aids could further affect mortality rates.

 

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