Scientists told how to grow the average duration of human life

The average life expectancy in Singapore is forecast to be 85.4 years in 2040

On the bright side of things, they found that under the most likely scenario, all of the 195 countries studied would see an increase in their average life expectancy by 2040.

The "worse-health" scenario, however, predicts that life expectancy in nearly half of the examined countries could go down.

Eight of the countries ranked in the top 10 for lifespan in 2016 will still be in the top 10 in 2040, the study shows.

The rankings also find that Spain is expected to place first in the world in 2040 (average lifespan of 85.8 years), a rise from fourth in 2016 (average lifespan of 82.9 years).

Spain just edged out the sushi-loving nation, with people expected to live for an average of 85.8 years by 2040, just ahead of Japan's 85.7 years. Average life expectancy in the USA will rise by only 1.1 years compared to the average global rise of 4.4 years.

The world's poorest countries in 2018 will continue to fair poorly when it comes to life expectancy, according to the study. Life expectancy in the USA has dropped in each of the past two years, according to annual reports by the National Center for Health Statistics, representing the first multi-year drop since 1962 and 1963.An increase in drug-related deaths is believed to represent one factor in the stalling figures, with accidental drug overdoses causing 63,600 deaths in 2016.

The world's two largest economies have differing fortunes, with China rising from 69th to 39th in the rankings (81.9 years) and the United States dropping from 43rd to 64th (79.8 years).

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In 2016 - the last time the study was carried out - four of the top 10 causes of premature death were non-communicable diseases and injuries.

For 2040, the study puts the leading causes as: lower respiratory infections, ischemic heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, lung cancer, chronic kidney disease, liver cancer, colon and rectum cancer, stroke, hypertensive heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.

"The future of the world's health is not pre-ordained, and there is a wide range of plausible trajectories", said lead author Dr Kyle Foreman in a statement. "But whether we see signficant progress or stagnation depends on how well or poorly health systems address key health drivers". Risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity, and tobacco use will also be the largest drivers of health going forward, the report found.

Risks that generally improve alongside gains in development such as child malnutrition, household air pollution, unsafe water and sanitation are projected to continue to decrease. In contrast to this, Central Africa Republic, Lesotho, Somalia and Zimbabwe had projected lifespans of lesser than 65 years.

African countries continue to have the worst rates of premature death.

Syria is also expected to make a huge leap from 137th rank now to 80th in 2040 because of its improvement from 68.2 years to 78.6 years. Best case, all countries will probably experience a slight increase in lifespan over the next two decades.

"These scenarios offer new insights and help to frame health planning, especially regarding long lag periods between initial investments and their impacts, such as in the research and development of drugs".

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