Australia one of world leaders for life expectancy: WHO

Canberra, (IANS) Australia is one of the “world leaders” for life expectancy, ranked only behind Japan, Singapore and Switzerland, according to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) latest world health check.

Clean, pollution-free cities and a low smoking rate are contributing factors in Australia’s exceptional life expectancy. But spokesperson for the WHO Colin Mathers said on Thursday that the world’s overall life expectancy was also increasing.

The data was taken from 194 WHO members, Xinhua news agency reported.

Although there are some very big health issues in Australia and lots of preventable causes of ill health, Australia is one of the world leaders (in life expectancy), Mathers said.

“It’s an optimistic report. The world’s overall health is improving. Obviously there are issues and problems and areas and topics where things are going backwards, but in the big picture global life expectancy increased by five years from 2000 to 2015.”

Mathers said Australia is also a leader in a number of key areas.

The death rate of women after pregnancy was among the lowest in the world, smoking rates were in the bottom eight in the world with just 16.7 per cent of men being smokers, while Australian cities are ranked among the cleanest in terms of fine particle pollution in urban areas.

Despite the positives, Australia’s suicide rate was higher than the world’s average (at 11.8 deaths per 100,000 people), while deaths from domestic violence and road accidents were not in decline.

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