In 2016, the U.S. life expectancy was 78.7, earning the country rank as 45th in the world, but the study, published in The Lancet, predicts that by 2040, the life expectancy for Americans will only increase to 79.8, meaning it will drop rank to 64th in the world for average lifespan.
Of course, these numbers are just predictions based on past data for injuries, diseases, and risk factors. "The future of the world's health is not pre-ordained, and there is a wide range of plausible trajectories," said Kyle Foreman, Ph.D., the director of data science at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington and lead author on the study. "But whether we see significant progress or stagnation depends on how well or poorly health systems address key health drivers."
As it stands, the largest health factors that help predict these forecasts are growing rates of high blood pressure, tobacco and smoking, obesity, alcohol, and air pollution, as well as related non-communicable diseases like diabetes and lung cancer.
All of this begs the question: Which countries rank the highest and, consequently, are thought to live the longest? Below, a breakdown of the top 10 healthiest countries by 2040:
1. Spain: 85.8 years
2. Japan: 85.7 years
3. Singapore: 85.4 years
4. Switzerland: 85.2 years
5. Portugal: 84.5 years
6. Italy: 84.5 years
7. Israel: 84.4 years
8. France: 84.3 years
9. Luxembourg: 84.1 years
10. Australia: 84.1 years
Currently, Spain ranks fourth while Japan ranks first, so we're expected to see a swap in the next few decades. Interestingly, though, Japan has a much lower obesity rate of only 3.5% of the population (due largely to the fact that it's mandated by government to keep your waistline under a certain measurement) whereas one-fourth of Spaniards are obese. The shift may be due to the fact that while both countries have universal healthcare, Spain is ranked eighth in the world for healthcare quality, whereas Japan ranks 11th. Other factors on Spain's side may be future policy changes, greater education, and higher household income by the time 2040 rolls around.
We may not be able to move to Spain and fully adopt its practices, but we can reap the benefits of its native beauty products. Shop our favorites below.
Up next, take a look at the island where no one ever has acne.