Nigerians life expectancy can rise to 74.8 years by 2040 – Study

Life expectancy can rise to 74.8 years in Nigeria by 2040, a study published on Wednesday in international medical journal, The Lancet, has stated.

The study ranked Nigeria 156th among 195 nations with an average life expectancy of 65.0 years in 2016, but states the country can rise to 123rd in 2040 with an average life expectancy of 74.8 years, an increase of 9.8 years.

The study, “Forecasting life expectancy, years of life lost, and all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 250 causes of death: reference and alternative scenarios for 2016–40 for 195 countries and territories using data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016,” was carried out by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

IHME is an independent global health research organisation at the University of Washington that provides rigorous and comparable measurement of the world’s most important health problems and evaluates the strategies used to address them.

It stated that all countries are likely to experience at least a slight increase in life expectancy by 2040.

The study, however, also showed that one scenario found nearly half of all nations could face lower life expectancy.

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It showed that Nigeria’s life expectancy could increase by as much as 14.2 years in a better health scenario or as little as 5.1 years in a worse health scenario.

According to the study, “The United States in 2016 ranked 43rd with an average lifespan of 78.7 years. In 2040, life expectancy is forecast to increase only 1.1 years to 79.8, but dropping in rank to 64th.

“China, on the other hand, had a lifespan of 76.3 years in 2016 and is expected to increase to 81.9, raising its rank from 68th to 39th in 2040.”

The study projects a significant increase in deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

This includes diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic kidney disease, and lung cancer, as well as worsening health outcomes linked to obesity.

In 2016, the top 10 causes of premature death in Nigeria were malaria, diarrheal diseases, HIV/AIDS, neonatal encephalopathy due to birth asphyxia and trauma, lower respiratory infections, neonatal preterm birth complications, congenital birth defects, neonatal sepsis, meningitis, and protein-energy malnutrition.

The study however predicted that in 2040, the leading causes are expected to be malaria, lower respiratory infections, HIV/AIDS, diarrheal diseases, neonatal encephalopathy due to birth asphyxia and trauma, neonatal preterm birth complications, neonatal sepsis, congenital birth defects, meningitis, and ischemic heart disease.

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The authors of the study noted that the downward trajectory of health could be altered if the levels of education and per capita income are addressed

The Director of Data Science, IHME at the University of Washington, Kyle Foreman, said “The future of the world’s health is not pre-ordained, and there is a wide range of plausible trajectories.

“But whether we see significant progress or stagnation depends on how well or poorly health systems address key health drivers,” he said.

Mr Foreman noted that the five health drivers that explain most of the future trajectory for premature mortality are high blood pressure, high body mass index, high blood sugar, tobacco use, and alcohol use.

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