According to World Health Organisation (WHO) data released this week, Swiss boys born in 2015 will live longer than any other men on the planet. A boy born in Switzerland in 2015 can expect to live on average for 81.3 years, 12.2 years more than the global average of 69.1 years. The lowest male life expectancy in 2015 of 49.3 years was in Sierra Leone where infectious diseases and high infant mortality impose a heavy toll.
With an overall life expectancy of 83.4, Switzerland was just behind Japan at 83.7 years. Japan’s leading female life expectancy of 86.8 pushed its overall life expectancy ahead of Switzerland’s despite having a male life expectancy 80.5 years, 0.8 years shorter.
At 85.3 years, Swiss female life expectancy is the sixth highest, although the differences are modest. Only 1.5 years separate Japan (highest) and Switzerland (sixth).
Comparing low life expectancy countries with high ones highlights large differences in infant mortality. Every year, around the world, 300,000 women die during child birth or shortly after from birth complications and around 5.9 million children don’t make it past the age of 5.
Other big killers of those under 70 are cancer and heart disease, which take 10 million lives prematurely every year. The WHO report points out that there are still 1.1 billion who smoke tobacco, 42 million overweight children under 5 and 1.8 billion people drinking contaminated water. Infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, tropical diseases and hepatitis are also highlighted as big killers.