Music & Art Dec 09, 2013

Iceland Boasts Fourth Longest Life Expectancy Worldwide

A new study from the OECD ranked Iceland fourth in the world for life expectancy.

According to a new report from the Organizations for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Iceland has the fourth highest life expectancy worldwide, with an average life expectancy of 82.4 years. Switzerland was ranked first, with an average life expectancy of 82.8 years.

From the OECD report:

Among Icelandic men, life-expectancy at birth was over 80 years in 2011, the highest compared with men in all other countries reviewed by the OECD. Women in Iceland, however, were expected to live 84 years, only eighth highest out of the 40 nations measured.

Only 14.3% of Iceland’s population were daily smokers as of 2011, less than all but three other countries reviewed.

Alcohol consumption in 1990 was low compared with most European countries. Eighteen later, alcohol consumption was still relatively low, at just over seven liters per person, less than most other developed nations. However, Icelanders’ alcohol consumption had increased by 40%, more than almost every country surveyed by the OECD.

Among Icelandic adults between the ages of 20 and 80 years, just over 3% were estimated to have had diabetes in 2011, the lowest proportion of any country reviewed and considerably better than the U.S.’s 9.8% rate.

Gaetan Lafortune, senior economist of the OECD’s health division, said, “One of the main factors behind the big rise in life expectancy in OECD countries over the past 20 years or so has been the sharp decline in mortality from cardiovascular disease.”

While life expectancy tends to be far lower in countries where health care spending is very low, high spending on health care is by no means a guarantee of a long life. Only three of the top 10 spenders per capita are in the top 10 for life expectancy. For example, Americans’ life expectancy is only 26th highest, despite the fact that the U.S. spends vastly more per capita on healthcare than any other country.

Click here to read more about the OECD report on life expectancy (via Yahoo!).