Eat our dust, elderly of Japan! Like fine wine, Singaporeans are currently aging as gracefully as any people on the planet.
The delightfully titled “The Burden of Disease in Singapore 1990 to 2017” — published earlier this month by the Ministry of Health — found that as of 2017, Singaporeans had achieved the world’s longest life expectancy, at 84.8 years. That betters the 84.1 year life expectancy in Japan, whose citizens are famously known for their long lifespans.
We know what you’re thinking. Who wants to live to be that old if I’m breaking down and miserable? Well we’ve got good news on that front as well. According to the study, the average Singaporean will spend a solid 74.2 years of their life in good health. That’s tops for the list as well, ahead of 39 other countries including Japan, South Korea and Switzerland.
Life expectancy, of course, isn’t the same for men and women. In fact, Singaporean men actually came in second globally at 81.9 years, just behind Switzerland’s 82.1 years. Singapore’s women, however, comfortably made up the difference, living to a ripe old 87.6 years on average.
The life expectancy figures are a marked improvement from the numbers back in 1990, when the average Singaporean had an expected lifespan of 76.1 years, with a project 67.1 of those years in “good health.”
While all of this is good news, the study noted that while people are living longer in the republic, the rates at which Singaporeans experience ill health in general has remained constant over time.
This means that like most places in the world, Singapore has not been as successful at preventing illness health as it has been in preventing early death.
The largest contributors to Singapore’s combined burden of early death were cardiovascular diseases (14.2%), cancers (13.4%), musculoskeletal disorders (12.6%), and mental disorders (10.2%).
“Singapore’s primary challenges will be how to continue increasing life expectancy while also making progress in further reducing the burden of disability and enhancing the abilities of its health system to care for its ageing population,” the study concludes.
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