JAPAN'S long-held position at the top of the world's life expectancy table is coming to an end, only to be replaced by European rival Spain by 2040, new research has found.
All the countries are in the current top 10 for life expectancy, except Portugal and Israel which are predicted to replace Andorra and Iceland, now sixth and ninth.
The rankings of nations' life expectancies offer new insights into their health status.
The result of the study released on Wednesday (Oct 17), ranks Singapore third in the world, with an average life expectancy of 85.4 years in the year 2040.
Meanwhile life expectancy for Palestinians is expected to drop the most out of any country in the next twenty two years, sinking from 114th in 2016 (with 71.9) to 152nd place (with 72.2) in 2040.
Though Israel now occupies the 13th-place spot at a life expectancy of 82.1 years, Israel is projected to rise to seventh place at 84.4 years.
The world's poorest countries in 2018 will continue to fare poorly in life expectancy, said the study, published in The Lancet. Global life expectancy may increase by 4.4 years for men and women by 2040.
Interestingly, the study also predicts the U.S. will drop down 21 places in the longevity table, from 43rd place in 2016 to 64th in 22 years' time, with a life expectancy of 79.8 years.
If things continue apace, as modeled in the "most-likely" scenario, the top eight causes of early death in 2040 are expected to be ischemic heart disease, stroke, lower-respiratory infections, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (a lung disease that blocks airflow), chronic kidney disease, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and road injuries.
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However, the report suggests there is "great potential to alter the downward trajectory of health" by addressing key risk factors, levels of education, and per capital income.
According to a statement from the lead author of the report Kyle Foreman, director of data science at IHME, "The future of the world's health is not pre-ordained, and there is a wide range of plausible trajectories".
Experts say the improvements of recent generations are likely to slow down because of health problems like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, alcohol and tobacco.
Ranking a close sixth is air pollution, which scientists estimate claims a million lives a year in China alone.
African countries continue to have the worst rates of premature death with people in the Central African Republic, Lesotho, Somalia and Zimbabwe still expected to die before the age of 65 by 2040.
"Spain does really well in those", said Dr Christopher Murray, director of the IHME at the University of Washington, "although tobacco is an area where they could be better".
The researchers' conclusions were based on data from the 2016 Global Burden of Disease study, which highlighted the main factors behind sickness, disability and death in individual countries.
The report also predicted that the life-expectancy differences between high- and low-income countries would decrease by 2040, under the most-likely scenario.
In 2016, four of the top-ten causes of premature mortality were non-communicable diseases or injuries.
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