Paris, Nov 10 (EFE). – Improved education, increased spending on health and economic progress have all contributed to increasing life expectancy in the developed world over the last two decades, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said.
In its biannual report published on Friday, the agency indicated that fuller schooling provided 15.1 more months of life in those 20 years, based on the fact that increasing the number of people who completed primary education by 10% 3.2 extra months in the 35 member countries of the group.
The increase of 98% in health expenditures between 1990 and 2010 allowed the average life expectancy of these nations to rise by 42.4 months. In turn, the 42% increase in per capita income in this period meant an increase of 13.4 months in life expectancy, which rose from 74.8 years in 1990 to 80.6 in 2015.
The reduction in smoking, which was 31% in terms of daily smokers, represented an additional five months of life for the population as a whole, while the decrease in alcohol consumption (of 8% in amount of alcohol consumed per person) meant only 0 ,Four months. On this factor, the authors of the report highlighted the worsening situation in some countries. The most significant are in Lithuania (15.2 liters of alcohol per year and per capita, compared to 9 in the OECD average) and Latvia (10.8 liters), which do not happen to occupy the last two positions in life expectancy , with 74.2 and 74.5 years, respectively.
Another point noticed by the researchers was that in the reference period there was no improvement in eating habits, on the contrary. The percentage of overweight people grew “fast” in the last decades and represented 53.9% of the OECD total in 2015, with maximums in Mexico (72.5%) and the United States (70.1%). According to the authors, this trend will continue.
Chris James, who wrote the report, told EFE that although health spending is a key factor for life expectancy, differences between states are notable and countries like Israel, Italy, Spain, South and Greece show good results in this respect with respect to investment.
The United States, for example, has shown that spending a lot of money on health (US $ 9,892 per capita on average, more than double the US $ 4,003 in the OECD) does not guarantee a better expectation, which is relatively small, with 78.7 years, below 80.6 in the OECD group. According to the text, the reasons are three, beginning with a very fragmented health system in the American territory, where a large part of the population has no health plan and where few resources are dedicated to primary care. In addition, care with life is poor, particularly in the record of obesity (more than 40% of women and more than 35% of men), and the levels of poverty and inequality in all member countries.
“Persistent poverty has particularly negative effects on health, and declining incomes have stronger consequences than increases,” the report said.
The OECD pointed out that in order to measure greater efficiency in public resources for health, some development paths are the biggest bet for generic medicines (they represent up to 75% in the United States, Chile, Germany and the United Kingdom, but less than 25% in Luxembourg , Italy, Switzerland and Greece) and indication of antibiotics only when it is “mandatory”. It is also important to avoid hospitalizations for minor surgical procedures, such as cataract surgery, which is already done in more than 90% of cases in 20 of the 28 countries analyzed, but does not reach 60% in Poland, Turkey, Hungary or Slovakia.