Life Expectancy Rises In West, But Declines In Russia In U.S.

SATURDAY, FEB. 15, 1997

People in the West are living longer than ever, but the average Russian man doesn’t survive to celebrate his 58th birthday, according to new data from the World Health Organization.

The U.N. health agency said Friday that the collapse of the health care system pushed life expectancy rates throughout the former Soviet Union down to 1980 levels.

Russians became the worst off, living on average 57.7 years - below the level of many African countries - compared to a peak of 65 years in 1987. Russian women fare better, with a life expectancy of 71 years, down from 74 years in 1987.

In the United States, men can expect to live 72 years and women live an average 79 years.

Male life expectancy in Greece, Switzerland, Sweden, Israel, Australia and Japan topped 75 years. The average woman in Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Spain or Switzerland would reach her 82nd birthday.

The figures were contained in the World Health Statistics Annual.

Heart attacks and strokes are the leading cause of death in developed countries, followed by cancer and respiratory diseases, including pneumonia.

Traffic accidents cause as many as 4 percent of all deaths, WHO said.

The Baltic republics of Latvia and Estonia and the former Yugoslav republic of Slovenia have the deadliest roads, while Azerbaijan, Norway and Sweden have the lowest death toll.

Tags: statistics

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