International Journal of Health System and Disaster Management

LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Year
: 2015  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 46--47

Public health strategies to increase the average global life expectancy


Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava, Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava, Jegadeesh Ramasamy 
 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, 3rd Floor, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India




How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Public health strategies to increase the average global life expectancy.Int J Health Syst Disaster Manage 2015;3:46-47


How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Public health strategies to increase the average global life expectancy. Int J Health Syst Disaster Manage [serial online] 2015 [cited 2019 Jul 22 ];3:46-47
Available from: http://www.ijhsdm.org/text.asp?2015/3/1/46/147207


Full Text

Sir,

Life expectancy at a given age is the average number of years which a person of that age may be expected to live, in conformity with the mortality trends prevalent in that country. [1] In fact, it is seen as a proxy measure/indicator of a country's level of development (viz., human development index), education status, nutritional status, and of the overall health status of its population. [1] Furthermore, it is one of the key components of the indices that assess the quality-of-life (viz., physical quality of life) and gender-related development index. [1],[2] Worldwide, these indices have been utilized to formulate the country's development reports for enabling international comparison. [1],[2]

Globally, the most recent estimates reveal that on an average a girl and a boy born in the year 2012 are expected to live to around 72.7 years and 68.1 years, respectively, which is almost 6 years more than the average global life expectancy for a child born in 1990. [3] In addition, a remarkable progress in life expectancy (viz., 9 years) has been observed in low-income countries in the same period. [3] These global trends reflect that people are living longer and thus, it is the responsibility of policy makers to recognize this change in the demographic pattern and thus plan appropriate strategies to ensure a life in good health rather than one of pain and disability. [1],[3]

The role of a wide gamut of factors such as gender; racial discrimination; education status; per-capita income; employment status; socioeconomic strata; inequalities in health and living conditions; rural-urban disparity; level of urbanization; migration; geographical regions; status of prevention strategies across different countries; availability of health care services; cardiovascular diseases (viz., stroke, hypertension, congestive cardiac failure); lifestyle associated (viz., underweight/overweight, unhealthy dietary habits, heavy alcohol drinking, cigarette smoking, and physical inactivity) risk factors; infectious diseases; and injuries; have been explored time and again to assess their influence on the life expectancy in heterogeneous settings across different nations. [1],[2],[4]

In order to enhance the life expectancy of the population globally irrespective of the presence/absence of contributory factors, there is an immense need to formulate a comprehensive policy to address all the potential determinants influencing life expectancy. [3] In addition, implementation of additional measures such as strengthening of existing health strategies; [2] ensuring equitable access to health care services; [4] employing strategies to reduce deaths attributed to avoidable causes; [5] formulating policies to ensure economic stabilization with an aim of increasing productivity, economic growth, and reducing unemployment; [3],[4] ensuring implementation of appropriate primordial and primary prevention strategies; [5] and promoting adoption of healthy lifestyles among all the members of the society; [3] can be looked upon as the key strategies to augment the life expectancy.

In conclusion, owing to the importance of life expectancy on different dimensions of health, the need of the hour is to develop a population-based intervention customized for the specific geographical, socioeconomic, and cultural features of the target population. Furthermore, timely implementation of the prevention strategies along with the strengthening of the public health care delivery system can play a crucial role in improving the life expectancy, especially in developing countries.

References

1Park K. Demography and family planning. In: Park K, editor. Textbook of Preventive and Social Medicine. 20 th ed. Jabalpur: Banarsidas Bhanot; 2009. p. 416-7.
2Sarkar S, Veerakumar AM, Shidam U. Study of life expectancy in urban Pondicherry. J Nat Sci Biol Med 2014;5:228-9.
3World Health Organization. World Health Statistics-2014. Geneva: WHO Press; 2014.
4Eslava-Schmalbach JH, Rincón CJ, Guarnizo-Herreño CC. Life expectancy at birth in Colombia, 2000-2009: Inequalities by region and gender. Biomedica 2013;33:383-92.
5Rodríguez-Artalejo F. Strengthening primordial and primary prevention of cardiovascular disease to increase life expectancy. Rev Esp Cardiol (Engl Ed) 2013;66:837-8.