April 30, 2010

Men From Iceland, Women From Cyprus Live Longest

Icelandic men live the longest, while women in Cyprus have the lowest risk of mortality in the world, according to a new study published in the medical journal The Lancet on Friday.

According to Reuters Health and Science Editor Maggie Fox, "In most places, men have twice the relative mortality rate of women, Dr. Christopher Murray of the University of Washington in Seattle and colleagues reported."

Murray and his team "used a complex formula to calculate the probability that someone aged 15 will die before they reach 60," Fox said in an April 30 article. "They believe their method paints a more accurate picture than methods used by the United Nations, and can be used to compare countries with populations of different ages."

In the study, Murray joined other researchers from the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, as well as scientists from the Harvard Medical School and the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, measured the number of deaths per 1,000 that occur before the age of 60.

For men, the number was just 65 in Iceland, 71 in Sweden, and 73 in Malta and the Netherlands. For women, Cyprus had 38 deaths per 1,000 before the age of 60, followed by 40 for South Korea and 41 for Japan, Italy, and Greece. Conversely, the fatality rate for men was worst in Swaziland, where more than 3/4 of the population won't make it to age 60. Likewise, in Zambia, more than 600 of every 1,000 women are likely to die before their 60th birthday, according to the study.

"The United States, where 60 percent of adults are overweight or obese, fell in overall rankings, from 34th in the world in female mortality and 41st in male mortality in 1990 to 49th for women and 45th for men in 2010--behind Chile, Tunisia, and Albania," said Fox.

"People in the UK have a higher risk of early death than those in many other wealthy countries, a study shows," adds BBC News health reporter Nick Triggle. "While deaths before the age of 60 in the UK have nearly halved in the past 40 years, the rate for women remains similar to Slovenia's and Albania's."


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