Global Life Expectancy, Disease Burden Set to Keep Improving

Improvement in life expectancy is expected at a slower pace than in the decades preceding the COVID-19 pandemic
Global Life Expectancy, Disease Burden Set to Keep Improving
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

WEDNESDAY, May 22, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Life expectancy and age-standardized disease burden are expected to continue improving between 2022 and 2050, according to the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, published in the May 18 issue of The Lancet.

Stein Emil Vollset, M.D., M.P.H., and colleagues from the GBD 2021 Forecasting Collaborators provide a reference forecast and alternative scenarios assessing disease burden trajectories if selected sets of risk factors were eliminated from current levels by 2050.

The researchers found that global and super-regional life expectancy will increase from 2022 to 2050 in the reference scenario forecast, but improvement will be at a slower pace than in the three decades preceding the COVID-19 pandemic. Compared with super-regions with higher life expectancies, super-regions with comparatively low life expectancies were forecast to have the greatest gains in future life expectancy, leading to a trend toward convergence in life expectancy across locations. Forecasted healthy life expectancy patterns were similar to those of life expectancies at the super-region level. For the reference scenario, health will improve in the coming decades, with all-cause age-standardized disability-adjusted life-year (DALY) rates decreasing in every GBD super-region. However, increases in the total DALY burden measured in counts will increase in every super-region. It is forecast that DALY counts and age-standardized DALY rates will continue to shift from communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases to noncommunicable diseases.

"Our reference forecasts of disease burden and life expectancy to 2050 indicate a continued, albeit slower, improvement in the health status of the world," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed ties to industry.

Abstract/Full Text

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