What really influences whether we live a long life or not? Factors range from advancements in medical science and healthcare systems to the complex interplay of demographic shifts and socioeconomic disparities – and from the challenges posed by environmental changes to the choices we make in our everyday lives. Multiple elements play a role in shaping a person’s life expectancy. The main questions are: what affects human mortality, and what impacts are expected in the future?
In the following video, I talk about how human mortality and life expectancy have developed over the last decades – and which impacts are expected in the future.
Humans are living for longer, and overall life expectancy is increasing worldwide. Lifestyles are becoming healthier, especially visible through the shrinking prevalence of smoking, and medical treatments have developed a great deal. What are the causes of most deaths? Is the progressive ageing of society creating new health challenges? Will dementia soon be the most common cause of death instead of cardiovascular disease?
As the socioeconomic gap is widening in many countries, one could assume that this will have an impact on the life expectancy of various income groups. What role do education and income play in the historical development of human mortality? People with a higher level of education perhaps tend to lead a more health-conscious life. At the same time, they are more financially able to pay attention to such things.
Can medical progress only make things better, or will we soon be at a point where the peak of mortality improvement has been passed? Which diseases still have the greatest potential for improving the chances of recovery? And, how much additional influence can you have on your own life expectancy through personal lifestyle choices?
For details in the answers to these questions, press “play”. [18‑minute video]