Study on ageing finds 70 is the new 30
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Humans are living so much longer these days that 72 is the new 30, a study has found.
German scientists say that our hunter-gatherer ancestors at age 30 had the same probability of dying as Japanese people today at 72. In fact, the death rate has significantly fallen in just over four generations.
“Human mortality has decreased so substantially that the difference between hunter-gatherers and today’s lowest mortality populations is greater than the difference between hunter-gatherers and wild chimpanzees,” wrote lead author of the study Oskar Burger, of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany.
Burger and his colleagues gathered data on chimpanzees, hunter-gatherer societies in parts of Africa and South America and numbers from the Human Mortality Database for Japan, Sweden and France.
“The probability that you’ll live through the year in our evolutionary past that was experienced at age 30 or even 20 is now typical of people who are 70,” he said. “Seventy-two is the new 30.”
The findings, published online on Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggested that industrialisation since 1900 – not any genetic shift – were responsible for the dramatic gains in life expectancy.
Since about 1840, life spans in the longest-lived populations have increased by about three months per year, said the researchers.
In Hong Kong, the expectancy of life at birth was 80 years for men and 86 years for women in 2010. Both figures represented an increase of eight years compared with 30 years ago and were comparable with nations with the lowest mortality rates, such as Japan and Sweden, the Census and Statistics Department said.