Increased life expectancy.. Fact ? or Fable ?

Lateral Thinker By Lateral Thinker, 11th May 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Public Health

A cynical look at the information we (the general public) receive about increased life expectancy and the need to reform our pension provision

Live long and prosper!!!

We are all living longer; that is the good news. However because of this the government have decided that we will all need to retire later and contribute more to our pensions. This is to forestall / prevent the collapse of an already overburdened pension system, both private and public. When more of us do succumb ill health in extreme old age we will need looking after.! This extra burden on the NHS and social care providers, will be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back unless drastic measures are taken. But is this the full story?

The Good News

The statistics would appear to provide evidence to support the contention that we can all expect increased longevity !

“Life expectancy has continued to rise, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.
In 2010, average life expectancy at birth across the UK, for both men and women, rose by another four months to 78.2 and 82.3 years respectively.
At the same time, average life expectancy at age 65, for both men and women, rose by two months.”

People are set to live increasingly long lives, and reaching 100 will soon be "commonplace", say experts.
They say that although there is no prospect of immortality, the trend for living increasingly long lives looks set to continue.
Centenarians - 100-year-olds - will become unexceptional within the lifetimes of people alive today, according to Jim Oeppen, from Cambridge University, UK, and Dr James Vaupel, from the Max Plank Institute for Demography in Rostock, Germany.


The above statistics paint a very rosy picture of our life expectations in the future; however as with all coins there is a flip side that can be illustrated with another set of statistics:-

From Jamie Oliver’s “Food Revolution” Obesity and Diabetes Facts and Figures.

“Today’s generation of children are predicted to be the first which will die at a younger age than their parents due to obesity-related bad health”

And From the Daily Mail:-

“Today's children could die at a younger age than their parents as preventable diseases reach epidemic levels, the UK's leading hospitals warned today.
Doctors from Liverpool's Alder Hey Children's Hospital said the number of avoidable health complaints such as obesity and tooth decay were booming”.

And from the same government, that is going to increase the pension age because we are all living longer!!

“The government has warned the UK could be on the verge of an obesity crisis. According to the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition, the daily diet of the entire nation needs to be reduced by five billion calories to prevent the problem becoming out of hand.
As with Obesity alcohol is also sited as a factor in the deteriorating health of the nation
“Each year, drink leads to the admission of more than a million people to hospital for treatment of alcohol-related cancers, liver disease, and poisoning. Nearly 1.2 million people in England needed inpatient hospital treatment in 2010-11 – a 9 per cent rise on the previous year. Liver disease is the only major condition that is on the increase in Britain. In some age groups, the rates of cirrhosis have risen tenfold in 30 years.”

In-spite of the progress in recent years Smoking is still one of the major causes of premature death.

“We are in the grip of a smoking epidemic: an estimated
106,000 people in the UK are dying needlessly each year
because of smoking. “
Sir Liam Donaldson
Chief Medical Officer
Department of Health

2+2=5 ?

On the one hand we are, being told that we are living longer, because of better health and diet plus advances in medical science. On the other hand our lifestyles of junk fatty foods, binge drinking, lack of exercise and smoking will see us into and early grave!
Quite clearly certain sections of society, might well benefit from the above equation, (if I was that cynical) after paying your pension contributions into the government or private provider all your working life you unfortunately die before you are able to draw on the said resources.!!!

Even the insurance industry, on issuing annuities to those reaching pension age will
factor lifestyle into their equation. I.E if you are a life long smoker you will get better rates of payments, than someone who has lived a smoke free existence, because they recognise that you are likely to die earlier.

Maybe the government could recognise this and reduce the pension age of those not likely to reach it !!


Alcohol, Obesity, Pension, Smoking, Statistics

Meet the author

author avatar Lateral Thinker
A mature individual with a caustic view on life. At the begining of his writing career, but looking forward to the journey of discovery !!

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