Japan May Soon Lose Top Longevity Ranking
Japan hasِ long beenِ the world leader inِ longevity, butِ some experts areِ now suggesting thatِ the island nation mayِ soon face a drop inِ the rankings.
In anِ era ofِ economic stagnation, political turmoil, aging populations, andِ inadequate tobacco control, Japan doesِ not seemِ to beِ effective inِ addressing itsِ new set ofِ health challenges, wrote Dr.
Murray, director ofِ the Institute forِ Health Metrics andِ Evaluation atِ the University ofِ Washington.
Japan’s record-breaking longevity
Murray saidِ that theِ success ofِ Japanese health care emerged afterِ World War II, withِ declining infant mortality andِ reduction ofِ infectious diseases.
Reasons forِ this fall include theِ country’s suicide rate, rising body mass index andِ relatively high rates ofِ smoking, Murray said.
Part ofِ Japan’s health success hasِ beenِ attributed toِ universal health coverage, accomplished atِ a relativelyِ lowِ price: theِ country spends 8.5 percent ofِ itsِ GDP onِ health care, whileِ theِ U.S.
But that adds another potential reason for the fall, Murray said.
Although Japan hasِ a universal health care system, theِ quality ofِ the care delivered mightِ beِ low, Murray said, citing theِ exampleِ of coverage forِ high cholesterol treatments thatِ isِ much lowerِ than inِ other high-income countries.
To furtherِ increase theِ country’s longevity byِ reducing itsِ adult mortality, Japan mayِ need toِ revamp itsِ health care system, heِ said.
The oldest nation on Earth
A declining birth rate andِ long lifespan haveِ helped makeِ Japan theِ oldest nation onِ earth, withِ a median age aboveِ 40.
The aging population, smoking, metabolic syndrome andِ suicide areِ allِ major challenges facing theِ public health system inِ Japan, saidِ D.
Craig Willcox, a professor ofِ public health atِ Okinawa International University andِ at theِ University ofِ Hawaii, whoِ co-led theِ long-term Okinawa Centenarian Study.