A study by Imperial College London and the World Health Organization found that the lifespans of British men are catching up with those of women, who have long enjoyed longer life expectancy. The analysis projected that British men born in 2030 were expected to live 82.5 years, short only 2.8 years of the 85.3 life expectancy for women. The study was published in The Lancet.

British men born in 2010 were expected to live 78.3 years – a four-year gap from the 82.3 years women born that year are expected to live. The shift has been attributed to men and women’s lifestyles becoming more similar, with men less likely to drink and smoke heavily than they were in past decades. Britain was placed 14th in life expectancy among the 35 countries included in the study.

According to Professor Majid Ezzati, the study’s lead researcher:

“Men traditionally had unhealthier lifestyles, and so shorter life expectancies. They smoked and drank more, and had more road traffic accidents and homicides. However, as lifestyles become more similar between men and women, so does their longevity.”

The research used long-term mortality data to make its projections, and was funded by the UK Medical Research Council. It analyzed data from 35 industrialized countries which had reliable mortality data, finding that South Koreans may have the longest life expectancy worldwide by 2030. According to the study, a girl born in South Korea in 2030 will live 90.8 years, while a boy will live 84.1.

Ezzati also said:

“Many people used to believe that 90 years is the upper limit for life expectancy, but this research suggests we will break the 90-year-barrier. I don’t believe we’re anywhere near the upper limit of life expectancy – if there even is one.”

In 2015, estimates from the Office for National Statistics showed that life expectancy for newborn girls was on track to reach over 97 years in just over 2 decades. They also projected that female average lifespans would reach 100 in 2057.

Ezzati cited improving childhood nutrition, access to healthcare, along with low blood pressure and less heavy smoking, as factors in South Korea’s high life expectancy.

The study looked at high income countries including the US, Canada, and Germany, as well countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic.

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