Adults death before 60: inequality on the rise

Mortality rates worldwide among adults under 60 have dropped over four decades by 34 percent for women and 19 for men but show a sharp increase in inequality across nations, according to a major study released Friday.

The new tally of adult mortality shows that a 15-year old girl in the country with the worst female death rate today, Zambia, is 16 times more likely to die before reaching the sixth decade of life than her counterpart in Cyprus, the nation on top of the ranking.

Of 1,000 young women in Zambia who are 15 today, in other words, less than 400 are predicted to reach the age of 60.

More broadly, the rates of mortality across all of southern Africa are, in 2010, higher than they were in Sweden in 1751, nearly two centuries before the widespread production of life-saving antibiotics, the study showed.

"With adult mortality, we are seeing this massive spread between the best and the worst off," said Christopher Murray, Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle and the main architect of the study.

This stands in sharp contrast to the major progress since 1970 in both maternal mortality and children, he said in a statement.

Globally, the research confirms a reassuring downward trend in the rate of adult mortality over the period studied, 1970 to 2010.

But there were two regions that showed an alarming uptick in adult deaths in the 1990s, both for very different reasons, according to the study, published in the British journal The Lancet.

In much of sub-Saharan Africa, the backslide was most likely due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which has killed nearly 1.5 million people there annually in recent years.

During the same period, Eastern Europe saw one of the largest public health reversals of modern times after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

In the ranking of 187 nations, adult female mortality in Russia fell from 43rd in 1970 to 121 in 2010.

In Belarus, the drop over the same period was from 38th to 108th for women, and 81st to 150th for men, while Bulgaria plummeted from 14th and 12th in 1970 to 66th and 96th in 2010.

The study - based on registration data, census data and records of household deaths rather than indirectly inferred from infant mortality, the method used up to now - also shows that the risk of premature death has almost always been higher in men, sometimes twice as high.

The pattern emerging from each region is somewhat different.

In 1970, South Asia had the highest level of female mortality, but by 2010 it had declines by 56 percent.

Male mortality went down sharply over most of Asia, with Australia jumping from 44th to 6th place over the four decades under review.

The rankings of some wealthy nations for both men and women are less favourable in 2010 than they were in 1990, partly because of improvements in health elsewhere, but also due to an epidemic of "lifestyle" diseases related in particular to obesity.

The United States slipped from 34th and 41st place for men and women in 1990 to 49th and 45th respectively in 2010.

The five countries in 2010 with the lowest male adult mortality are, in order, Iceland, Sweden, Malta, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

For women, the countries are Cyprus, South Korea, Japan, Greece, Italy and Spain.

Over the four-decade period South Korea made spectacular gains, with its ranking for men rising from 167 to 31, and for women from 123 to 2.

Funding for the research came from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

mh/cjo

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Proust as Captain Laure Berthaud in 'Spiral'
tvReview: Gritty, engaging and well-acted - it’s a wonder France’s biggest TV export isn’t broadcast on a more mainstream channel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Carmichael in still from Madam Bovary trailer
film
News
i100
Sport
Serena Williams holds the Australian Open title
sportAustralia Open 2015 final report
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

    £15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

    Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

    Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

    Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

    £18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

    Day In a Page

    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links
    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing