Port Vila, Vanuatu (PressExposure) October 09, 2009 -- Researchers now say that mankind can be regarded as having four stages of life - child, adult, young old age and old old age. Bloomberg reported that scientists are predicting that most toddlers born today in wealthy nations will live to be 1oo years old.
Since 1950 the probability of surviving past 80 years of age has doubled for both sexes. These facts have been revealed from a study of more than 30 developed countries.
Improved living conditions, with earlier diagnoses and better treatment, will see more than half the infants born today, living to celebrate the century.
Over the past three decades, life expectancy has dramatically increased in countries such as France, U.S. U.K., Germany, Canada, Japan and Australia. Professor Kaare Christensen, of the Danish Ageing Research Centre at the University of Southern Denmark, who led the study, said life expectancy had been increasing since 1840 and there was no sign of this trend slowing down. "If life expectancy were approaching a limit, some deceleration of progress would probably occur".
The German and Danish researchers said, even without any further improvement, three-quarters of all babies will make it to their 75th birthday.
Quoting four health surveys in France, the researchers say people are living longer without becoming severely disabled, or afflicted with functional limitations. Danish studies have shown that as many as 30% to 40% of individuals remain independent, from the ages of 92 to 100. A study of US super-centenarians (age 110 to 119 years) showed that, even at these advanced ages, 40% needed little assistance, or were independent.
The urgent problem these nations are going to find themselves with is how are they going to be able to fund programs for the older citizens? The number of elderly for every 100 working-age person, has risen from 16 in 1956, to 29 in 2006, in Germany alone. This is forecast to reach 60 by 2056, the researchers said.
Many experts believe healthy behavior for all ages was the key to enjoying living a longer life. Shorter working weeks may also be a contributing factor to longevity.
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