Japanese don't have health problems of a 65-year-old until they are 76 (how does your country fare?)

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Japanese people don’t suffer health problems of a 65-year-old until they turn 76 – while those in Papua New Guinea start suffering at 46 (so how does your country fare?)

  • Researchers evaluated how fast people get health problems of a 65-year-old
  • 30-year gap separates countries with the highest and lowest ages 
  • Heart disease showed to account for the biggest  burden of disease globally

Vanessa Chalmers Health Reporter For Mailonline

People in Japan are fortunate to not suffer the health problems of the average 65-year-old until they are 76, a study has found.

This is 30 years more of healthy life than those who live in Papua New Guinea, who will begin to suffer ill health when they’re just 46. 

The results are from the first study of its kind, which evaluated the rate at which people develop age-related diseases across the world.  

Britons won’t experience the problems of a 65-year-old until they are 70, while Americans aren’t far behind on 68 years. 

A study published in The Lancet shows at what age people across the globe will experience the health problems of an average 65-year-old. Japan ranked the highest at 76.1 years

A study published in The Lancet shows at what age people across the globe will experience the health problems of an average 65-year-old. Japan ranked the highest at 76.1 years

Dr Angela Chang, from the University of Washington, said the findings reveal the wide variations in how well people age across the globe. 

She said: ‘These disparate findings show that increased life expectancy at older ages can either be an opportunity or a threat to the overall welfare of populations, depending on the ageing-related health problems the population experiences regardless of chronological age. 

‘Age-related health problems can lead to early retirement, a smaller workforce, and higher health spending.  

‘Government leaders and other stakeholders influencing health systems need to consider when people begin suffering the negative effects of aging.’

Researchers first identified 92 age-related diseases, including 13 cardiovascular, 35 cancers, six chronic respiratory diseases, three diabetes and kidney diseases and six injuries.  

They measured how much of a burden these diseases had on the amount of health years lived using global average 65-year-olds as a reference.  

COUNTRIES WITH THE HIGHEST EQUIVALENT AGE TO 65 

  1. Japan: 76.1
  2. Switzerland: 76.1
  3. France: 76.0
  4. Singapore: 76.0
  5. Kuwait: 75.3
  6. South Korea: 75.1
  7.  Spain: 75.1
  8. Italy: 74.8
  9. Puerto Rico: 74.6 
  10. Peru: 74.3

COUNTRIES WITH THE LOWEST EQUIVALENT AGE TO 65 

  1. Papua New Guinea: 45.6
  2. Marshall Islands: 51.0 
  3. Afghanistan: 51.6
  4. Vanuatu: 52.2 
  5. Solomon Islands: 53.4 
  6. Central African Republic: 53.6 
  7. Lesotho: 53.6 
  8. Kiribati: 54.2 
  9. Guinea-Bissau: 54.5
  10. Fed. States of Micronesia: 55.0 

Even among high-income countries, the differences are wide: 76-year-olds in Japan have the same level of age-related disease burden as 69-year-olds in the US, the authors wrote. 

The study of 195 countries was published in the international medical journal The Lancet Public Health.

It found that in 2017, people in 108 countries developed problems associated with ageing before they hit the age at which it would be expected.

Whereas those in 87 countries experienced slower onset of ageing.

Globally, the most amount of deaths and healthy years lost caused by age-related diseases were those caused by ischaemic heart disease, brain haemorrhage, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

The authors said: ‘Understanding which factors contributed to the successful delay, such as high physical activity, lower smoking rate, and better access to care, could shed light on how to reduce the projected burden of population ageing.’

IN WHICH COUNTRIES DO PEOPLE LIVE THE LONGEST BEFORE REACHING THE AVERAGE 65-YEAR-OLD’S LEVEL OF HEALTH? (Source: The Lancet Public Health)
Country Equivalent age to global 65 year olds Country Equivalent age to global 65 year olds
Japan 76.1 Slovakia 63.6
Switzerland 76.1 Syria 63.5
France 76 Grenada 63.4
Singapore 76 Macedonia 63.4
Kuwait 75.3 Tonga 63.2
South Korea 75.1 Morocco 63.1
Spain 75.1 Tanzania 63.1
Italy 74.8 Libya 62.6
Puerto Rico 74.6 Mauritania 62.6
Peru 74.3 Namibia 62.6
Panama 74.1 Bangladesh 62.5
Israel 74 Malaysia 62.5
Colombia 73.7 Uganda 62.5
Portugal 73.7 Seychelles 62.4
Andorra 73.6 Montenegro 62.3
Australia 73.6 Virgin Islands, U.S. 62.3
Nicaragua 73.6 Kenya 62.1
Sweden 73.3 Benin 61.8
Canada 73.2 Gabon 61.8
Austria 73 Samoa 61.8
Iceland 73 Cambodia 61.7
Norway 72.9 Indonesia 61.7
Bermuda 72.7 Latvia 61.7
Ecuador 72.6 Myanmar 61.6
Thailand 72.6 Serbia 61.6
New Zealand 72.5 Lithuania 61.5
Taiwan 72.4 Guam 61.4
Finland 72.3 Niger 61.4
Cyprus 72.1 Comoros 61.3
Belgium 71.9 Djibouti 61.3
Ireland 71.9 Kyrgyzstan 61.3
Netherlands 71.9 Liberia 61.3
Luxembourg 71.8 Malawi 61.3
Greece 71.4 Timor-Leste 61.3
Bahrain 71.2 Sudan 61.2
Chile 71.1 Zambia 61.2
Denmark 71.1 Mali 61.1
Maldives 71 Hungary 61
Cape Verde 70.9 Romania 61
Malta 70.9 Senegal 61
Costa Rica 70.8 Cameroon 60.8
Iraq 70.8 Greenland 60.7
United Kingdom 70.8 Nepal 60.7
Germany 70.7 Sao Tome and Principe 60.7
Barbados 70.5 Belarus 60.5
Sri Lanka 70.4 Tajikistan 60.5
Mexico 70.3 American Samoa 60.4
Qatar 70.3 Angola 60.4
Jordan 70 Ghana 60.3
Slovenia 70 Togo 60.3
Algeria 69.7 Burkina Faso 60.2
Guatemala 69.6 Georgia 60.1
Iran 69 Kazakhstan 59.7
United States 68.5 Guyana 59.6
Antigua and Barbuda 68.4 India 59.6
Belize 68.4 Cote d’Ivoire 59.5
El Salvador 68.4 North Korea 59.5
Tunisia 68 Philippines 59.5
Turkey 67.9 Democratic Republic of the Congo 59.4
Venezuela 67.9 Laos 59.4
Paraguay 67.8 Burundi 59.3
Brazil 67.6 Russian Federation 59.2
Saint Lucia 67.5 Bulgaria 59
Trinidad and Tobago 67.3 Moldova 58.9
Mauritius 67.1 Azerbaijan 58.7
Albania 66.7 Chad 58.6
Cuba 66.7 The Gambia 58.2
Northern Mariana Islands 66.6 Fiji 58.1
Uruguay 66.6 Sierra Leone 58.1
Lebanon 66.5 Yemen 58.1
Argentina 66.4 Egypt 58
Saudi Arabia 66.3 United Arab Emirates 58
Jamaica 66.2 Congo 57.9
Croatia 66.1 Uzbekistan 57.8
Estonia 66.1 South Sudan 57.7
Nigeria 66.1 Turkmenistan 57.7
China 66 Haiti 57.5
Oman 66 Ukraine 57.4
Honduras 65.9 Guinea 57
The Bahamas 65.9 Mozambique 57
Czech Republic 65.7 Eritrea 56.6
Bhutan 65.2 Pakistan 56.1
Bolivia 65.2 Madagascar 56
Brunei 65.2 Somalia 56
Dominican Republic 65.2 Swaziland 56
Dominica 65.1 Zimbabwe 56
Palestine 65.1 Mongolia 55.3
Botswana 64.8 Federated States of Micronesia 55
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 64.8 Guinea- Bissau 54.5
Equatorial Guinea 64.7 Kiribati 54.2
Bosnia and Herzegovina 64.4 Central African Republic 53.6
South Africa 64.2 Lesotho 53.6
Armenia 64.1 Solomon Islands 53.4
Rwanda 64.1 Vanuatu 52.2
Suriname 64.1 Afghanistan 51.6
Vietnam 64.1 Marshall Islands 51
Poland 63.9 Papua New Guinea 45.6
Ethiopia 63.8 Source: The Lancet Public Health



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