How is South Korea ahead?
Outside of Ultimate Beastmaster on Netflix I seldom think about South Korea. Yea, yea, now you know what I watch with my 11 year old son . . . and I frequently root for the South Korea contestants because not only are their commentators SO much fun, I’m in love with the dance they do at the end.
At the end of February most people in the health field were discussing South Korea as a new study was released showing life expectancy and it showed quite a bit about women’s health issues.
In 2015, global average life expectancy at birth was 71.4 years, according to the World Health Organization. By 2030, the average for women at birth will exceed 85 years in many countries, but South Korea is projected to lead the way with a life expectancy of 90.8 years.
Among predictions for high-income countries, the lowest life expectancy at birth is likely to be in the US, with an average of 83.3 years for women and 79.5 years for men — similar to Mexico and Croatia. REALLY?!?!?!
Our country’s life expectancy is on par with third world countries?!?!?!?!
[Feel free to enter your own political outrage here]
Women’s Health Shrinks
As a woman I’ve always heard that I should marry a man seven years younger (didn’t happen!) as that’s the average number of years for a women’s life expectancy over a man’s. Interestingly this study the gap between men and women’s life expectancy is shrinking. The assumption is that women have started living a more similar life to men – read here smoking, alcohol, obesity, sedentary lifestyle. There are many areas that, as women, we could (and should) strive to be equal to men – bad health isn’t one of them!
Unfortunately these women’s health issues wasn’t surprising to me as 1 in 3 women are now dying from heart disease. Moreover, according to the American Heart Association and Go Red for Women, about 80% of cardiac events can be prevented.
So why aren’t we paying attention?
The Japanese life expectancy will only have a slight increase and the assumption is because more young Japanese are not choosing traditionally diets in favor of the western diet. The Standard American Diet is abbreviated SAD for a reason! Women’s health issues will soon be worldwide.
South Korea Life Expectancy
According to the study, greater equality, more comprehensive health care and healthy diets and lifestyles embedded in a culture, such as with South Korea is what has brought South Korean women’s life expectancy to 90.8 by the year 2030. That’s 7.5 years greater than US women.
Majid Ezzati, professor of global environmental health at Imperial College London, led the study believes the secret to South Korea’s success has been the country’s investment in childhood nutrition, education and technology as well as low blood pressure, low levels of smoking and good access to health care.
Let’s be honest . . . looks like we have a lot more to learn from South Korea than dancing Gangnam Style.