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Life Expectancy Continues To Increase Globally, But Some Countries See Fall, WHO Report Says

“People are living longer than ever and ‘dramatic’ gains in life expectancy show no sign of slowing down, the [WHO] said on Wednesday,” Reuters reports, noting the release of the WHO’s annual World Health Statistics 2013 report. “‘The global life expectancy has increased from 64 years in 1990 to 70 years in 2011. That’s dramatic,’ Colin Mathers, coordinator for mortality and burden of disease at the WHO, said,” the news agency writes. “Much of the global increase is due to a rapid fall in child mortality over the past decade, as well as improvements in China and India, which have both seen a seven-year jump in average life expectancy at birth since 1990,” Reuters states, noting, “Life expectancy has fallen in North Korea, South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Libya since 1990, a year that serves as the baseline for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals” (Miles, 5/15). The report, “which compares progress made by countries with the best health status and those with least-favorable health status over the past two decades, shows that considerable progress has been made in the areas of reducing child and maternal deaths, improving nutrition, and reducing deaths and illness from HIV infections, tuberculosis and malaria,” the U.N. News Centre notes (5/15). GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog summarizes the report’s findings on child health (Miley, 5/15).