People now tend to live longer, especially in the UK. This is what was revealed in the study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology and was made public by the UK Government on the Office of National Statistics’ website as well as by different media networks. The average life expectancy has leaped to a record level of 80 years old, from 72 years old in the 1970s. Not surprisingly, this 8-year jump has brought both a feeling of assurance and a sense of alarm, bittersweet news.
It seems life is getting better; people are staying alive longer. Despite the economic recession, the government must be doing a good job maintaining conditions conducive to life. That is the comforting aspect of the rising life expectancy. However, as with any key issue with most developed countries, there is a worrisome aspect here as well. As the population of elderly people rises, so is the need for a much larger budget for health care and retirement plans. It is only right that we worry given how grave the problems are that the UK economy is already facing.
We have the statistics, we are aware of the potential problems we could be facing, so now comes the difficult part of identifying what caused the continuous rise in UK life expectancy, so we can then move on to the awkward part of deciding how to deal with it. Nobody, not even the government nor the author of the scientific report mentioned earlier, has officially stated the causes of the significant increase in life expectancy, but let’s talk about some of the valid speculations.
• Increased collective awareness of the hazards of smoking and other health-risk behaviors which are resulting in a drop in the number of people engaging in the said activities
• A more accepting attitude towards Alternative Medicine and improved awareness of the developments in mainstream medicine
• The growing appreciation for an organic diet to the point that the sales growth of these toxin-free food products has exceeded that of any other food segment
• Better than ever medical treatments leading to reduced deaths from cardiovascular disease, cancer. and strokes
• Much improved sanitation and hygiene practices, as well as a more motivated attitude towards exercising for fitness.
These are the obvious possible causes for the higher than ever life expectancy rate in the UK. Probably because of their obviousness, there is a lack of sufficient studies to back them up. The lack of interest in determining the causes may also be attributed to the reassuring suggestion of the overall good health of the nation. And yet, unless the present obesity problem drastically changes the life expectancy rate trend in the future, we have to start worrying now that the quality of health care and retirement plans will keep on going down, negatively affecting the general quality of life for everybody. How do we deal with it. though? It is awkward and ungrateful to not want the result of ideal changes and improvements in our society, the very goals that we’ve been striving to meet. So, coming up with solutions to the issues now facing us will surely not be easy.
Isaac writes for a Team 24 a leading NHS agency with Midwifery jobs and doctor positions throughout the UK and further afield.
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