Canada is now among the top-ranked countries in the world when it comes to average life expectancy, but could fall to 27 place by 2040 due to projected improvements in other nations, according to a new study.
In a shift that will be seen by some to reflect a superpower changing-of-the-guard, the world's two largest economies effectively swap positions compared to 2016: in 2040 the United States drops from 43rd to 64th (79.8 years), while China rises from 68th to 39th (81.9 years).
Using data compiled from the Global Burden of Disease study analyzing 250 causes of death, researchers forecasted the average life expectancy in 295 nations in the year 2040 under a number of alternative scenario predictions.
The increase in Singaporeans' life expectancy can be attributed to its health system and how key health issues are addressed, says the study on health and life expectancy.
The study, published on Tuesday in the worldwide medical journal The Lancet, projects a significant increase in deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic kidney disease, and lung cancer, as well as worsening health outcomes linked to obesity.
The researchers suggest there will be an increase in death from injuries, such as vehicle accidents, and non-communicable diseases, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic kidney disease, diabetes, lung cancer, and other health issues linked to obesity.
"The future of the world's health is not preordained and there is a wide range of plausible trajectories", said Dr Kyle Foreman, director of data science at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington and lead author on the study.
He added that the top health drivers that explain most of the future trajectory for premature death are high blood pressure, high body mass index, high blood sugar, tobacco use and alcohol use.
In 2016, the top 10 causes of premature death in Singapore were ischemic heart disease, lower respiratory infections, lung cancer, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, colon and rectum cancer, suicide, chronic kidney disease, liver cancer, and breast cancer.
Singapore's average life expectancy in 2016 was 83.3 years, which also ranked third in the world out of 195 countries.
The model also factored in 79 "drivers" of health, such as smoking, body mass index, clean water and good sanitation conditions, along with other variables, such as fertility measurements, income and education. They then used information on how each of these independent drivers affects specific causes of death to develop forecasts of mortality.
"The gap between the "better" and "worse" scenarios will narrow but will still be significant".
"Inequalities will continue to be large", said IHME Director Christopher Murray. But public health choices and policy decisions that we make - or fail to make - now could set us down various paths, the worst of which could see decreased life expectancy in almost half the world's countries, the authors reported.
In this scenario, the life expectancy in the U.S.is projected to be 79.8 years in 2040, up only 1.1 years from the 2016 estimate, the researchers found.
"But nations could make faster progress by helping people tackle the major risks, especially smoking and poor diet".