Men-women longevity gap is decreasing, study finds

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A recent study, published on January 17, 2024, in PLOS ONE, offers a fresh perspective on global mortality trends over the past thirty years.

Conducted by David Atance of Universidad de Alcalá, Spain, along with his colleagues, this research categorizes countries into five clusters, which interestingly align with the continents.

This study provides a nuanced understanding of how mortality and longevity have evolved across different parts of the world.

Over the last two centuries, longevity has generally improved worldwide. Researchers have long debated whether these changes are leading to a uniform pattern in mortality and longevity across nations.

Atance’s study makes a significant contribution to this debate, employing new statistical methods to analyze a range of mortality indicators, not just life expectancy at birth.

Their analysis includes data from 194 countries, sourced from the United Nations Populations Division records.

The findings of the study are revealing. In both 1990 and 2010, these countries fell into five distinct groups based on their mortality and longevity characteristics.

Interestingly, some countries shifted between these clusters over time, often due to factors like wars, socioeconomic conditions, and political changes. However, the overall clusters largely mirror the world’s continents.

A key observation from the study is the increasing life expectancy across all groups, along with a narrowing gap in mortality rates between men and women.

The researchers also used their model to forecast the groupings for 2030, expecting these trends to continue.

The authors believe their study sheds light on the historical evolution of mortality trends from 1990 to 2020. More importantly, it provides projections for future trends.

Their approach offers valuable insights into the dynamics of mortality and longevity across different global regions, highlighting the progress made and the challenges that remain in achieving equitable health outcomes worldwide.

The research findings can be found in PLOS ONE.

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