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Why life expectancy is about to decline in Australia


Latest forecasts on life expectancy have cast doubt on whether Australians will continue to live longer and healthier lives.

Currently, a newborn boy can expect to live for 80 years while a baby girl can grow to reach 84, putting Australia in the top tier globally.

But rising levels of obesity and high rates of road trauma and suicide could overwhelm medical advances that should allow us to live longer.

A 2013 Australian Bureau of Statistics report found boys born in 2061 could live to an average age of 85, while girls would live an average of 88 years.

But The Australian reports that those figures have been revised down for children born in 2066 to 83 for boys and 86 for girls.

Professor Alan Lopez, from the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at University of Melbourne, told 3AW Breakfast the decline is partly the result of a “bottoming out” of gains made in fighting cardiovascular disease, with those deaths falling by about 80 per cent in the past 50 years.

But there’s one area in which we can clearly help ourselves.

“We’re one of the fastest nations on the planet,” he said. “About one in three Australians are obese.”

“And another one in three is overweight.

“It’s not something we should be complacent about.”

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