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NZ boys born in 2012 can expect to live to eighty

May 21st, 2014 | By | Category: Diversity, Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

Elderly man smilingNEW ZEALAND males have made a top ten appearance in life expectancy statistics released by the World Health Organisation last week.

The report focussed on the life expectancy of babies born in 2012 and sees New Zealand males ranked sixth, with a life expectancy of 80.2 years.

Life expectancy table for males born in 2012

Life expectancy table for males born in 2012

The new generation will outlive their predecessors by seven years, as in 1990 a baby boy’s life expectancy was 73.

The 2012 statistics places New Zealand behind neighbours Australia (80.5), Switzerland (80.7) and Iceland (81.2).

Associate Professor of Public Health at Otago University, Nick Wilson, says the high ranking is mostly likely be a result of New Zealand’s strong focus on smoking prevention.

“New Zealand is regarded as advanced on tobacco control which is a big part of life expectancy,” Professor Wilson says.

The Professor says the country’s drop in heart disease due to dietary improvements is also likely to be a factor.

He says dietary changes  such as butter to margarine and full milk to trim milk, have all contributed to  the country’s increased life expectancy.

New Zealand women should not envy their country’s males though, as despite not making the top ten countries for women, they do have a greater life expectancy overall of 84 years.

Professor Wilson says one of the factors why women live longer than men in New Zealand is that men have a higher chance of heart disease and often work in more high risk industries such as forestry and construction.

Both genders have come a long way, as Statistics New Zealand figures show life expectancy in 1951 for men was 67.2 and women 71.3.

Statistics of Life Expectancy for countries around the world.

Statistics of Life Expectancy for countries around the world.

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