Spain will be the country with the highest life expectancy in the year 2040, if current trends continue. In case you follow the projections, the spaniards advance to the people of Japan, Switzerland and Singapore to be placed in or 85.8 years of life expectancy at birth, compared to 82,9 now. This is the conclusion of a study that researchers from the University of Washington diffused last week in the medical journal the Lancet. There are countless factors that influence the life expectancy, but one in particular is key to explaining the longevity of historical Spanish: the mediterranean diet.
The Predimed study of the Ministry of Health, published this year, found that the mediterranean diet with olive oil or nuts protects against cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of mortality in the world. According to the Institute for Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), which has developed a projection for the year 2040, the older ballasts global growth of the life expectancy will be the obesity, the hypertension, the sugar high in blood, and the consumption of alcohol and tobacco. The paper's lead author, Christopher Murray, has told The Guardian that Spain “does very well” in these areas (except tobacco), and has a diet especially favorable.
This month, an analysis of a multitude of studies published by an Italian team in the British Journal of Nutrition shows that people over 65 who eat a mediterranean diet live longer. In addition, they found that the increase in longevity is proportional to its monitoring of the diet. However, experts warn that the food in Spain is “going global” with the adoption of habits and less healthy foods, so that the benefits of the mediterranean diet and its role as a spreader of hope of life in the country ever charged less importance.
“We have been a country, very agricultural with power of proximity seasonal,” says the demographer July Perez, Center of Human and Social Sciences of the CSIC. “But the power of the young people in these times is very different to the one that took his parents, and even more so that of their grandparents. Has entered the food franchise, and with that we're leveling very quickly [to other countries],” he explains. Pau Miret, researcher at the Demographic Studies Center, Autonomous University of Barcelona, believes the Spanish diet has been decisive, but “no longer is a factor that is very different to that of France, Portugal or other neighboring countries,” and that probably will not be the key to a prolonged increase of longevity.
Ok, that past trends do not necessarily continue in the future, it is essential to interpret the predictions of life expectancy, recalls Pérez. According to the researcher, the projections are useful but should be reviewed every year because they “do not meet ever.” The study that put the life expectancy of Spain head to the world for 2040 is based on an extrapolation corrected from the observations between the years 1990 and 2016. The prediction is only fulfilled if the trend continues drawn between those years.
The experts agree that that is unlikely. “In Spain we have experienced delay in the improvement of the life expectancy of the TWENTIETH century”, explains Pérez. While many countries of the west had increases amazing in the health, education and the economy at the beginning of the last century, in Spain came to end, due in part to the Civil War and its consequences. “The generation jump is a factor that I do not get tired to emphasize, very inherent in the demographic analysis,” says the researcher. Miret added that before the turn of the century were also reduced dramatically in Spain, deaths by traffic accidents and aids. “Now you get to greater in a high proportion, when we came from a life very dodgy,” continues Perez. “If such a trend is the one we, of course, that we're in front of the whole world”.
even Though Spain does not become finally in the country with the highest life expectancy, it is true that something works for which are currently positioned fourth in the table of 195 nations. In addition to the abundance of fruits and vegetables, the experts point to the good functioning of the public health system as a reason why the spaniards are long-lived.
despite their wait times and the shortage of documented of nurses, the National Health System covers 99.9% of the Spanish population, thus achieving one of the rates of mortality treatable lowest in Europe. The IHME grants to the national health system of Spain the position the nineteenth of the world in accordance with the incidence of 32 causes of death that are preventable and, for its part, the World Health Organization (WHO) ranks seventh according to the efficiency of the service. “It is one of the health systems that better resists, despite the shocks of the crisis,” says Miret.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) since the year 2000, the greater part of the increase of the life expectancy in Spain has been due to the reduction of mortality after the age of 65. In part, this is thanks to the excellent medical care, but Perez points out again the generational change: “When you see that the hope of life is improved, because the mortality decreased in people who have now 70 and 80 years of age, you are picking up the benefits of how enhanced all his life since they were born, not only how they are serving now,” he recalls.
Up to here, the experts agree. Other factors might be important, but are more difficult to assess. Several sources suggest that the traditional customs of Spanish as the nap, or the daily walk could have your paper. There is also the one who points to the idiosyncrasies genetic to explain the abundance of centenarians in Spain, but Perez dismisses outright that this is a factor homogeneous to the population in the country. What is quite clear is that the life expectancy in health is not reaching to the total life expectancy: older people in Spain continue to suffer, on average, the last 10 years of life with health problems and dependence, for many years they live.