Mavis Mottlee, 83, Gloria Higgins, 88, Bert Higgins, 89, Maureen Taylor, 80, and Gwen Hooper, 81, rehearsing during ukulele music class at Seasons residential aged care facility, Waterford West. Picture: Liam Kidston.
Mavis Mottlee, 83, Gloria Higgins, 88, Bert Higgins, 89, Maureen Taylor, 80, and Gwen Hooper, 81, rehearsing during ukulele music class at Seasons residential aged care facility, Waterford West. Picture: Liam Kidston.

Why Aussies live longer than the rest

AUSTRALIANS are bucking the trend and living longer than their counterparts in other high-income countries.

New data released Friday shows that women are averaging 85.5 years, which is up one year since 2010 and men 81.5, up two years.

A paper, published in The British Medical Journal, looked at 18 affluent countries and Australia made life expectancy gains from 2010 right through to 2016, while most countries like the US and the UK saw a dip between 2014 and 2015.

Life expectancy is a measure of the health and wellbeing of a population.

Mavis Mottlee, 83, Gloria Higgins, 88, Bert Higgins, 89, Maureen Taylor, 80, and Gwen Hooper, 81, rehearsing during ukulele music class at Seasons residential aged care facility, Waterford West. Picture: Liam Kidston.
Mavis Mottlee, 83, Gloria Higgins, 88, Bert Higgins, 89, Maureen Taylor, 80, and Gwen Hooper, 81, rehearsing during ukulele music class at Seasons residential aged care facility, Waterford West. Picture: Liam Kidston.

"Twenty years ago the Australian Bureau of Statistics predicted that by 2051 the life expectancy of a female Australian would be 86 and a male 82. We are almost there and are on a clear trajectory that shows we will reach those numbers well before that date," social demographer Mark McCrindle said.

"The ABS shows that Australia has the third best life expectancy rate in the world, behind Japan and Switzerland. Their data also shows that the gap is closing between males and females," he said.

Japanese women are world leaders, living on average just over 87 years.

Medical research and access to health services have all helped to reduce the death rate from conditions like stroke and heart disease in Australia, the analyst said.

"Our weather and outdoor lifestyle also keeps us active. This is something that many people in the UK and US don't enjoy. The spirits are lifted by the sunshine and all round Australia offers a phenomenal lifestyle," Mr McCrindle said.

Laughter and keeping on the move were the main secrets to a long life, according to the residents at Seasons Waterford West at Logan City.

The new BMJ paper was based on research from the University of Southern California and Princeton University and from a second study at the Virginia Commonwealth University.

The findings show that the life expectancy in the UK and the US has declined by almost a couple of months.

 

SECRETS TO A LONG LIFE

Gwen Hooper, 81: "Never have a spare moment. Keep on the go all the time. I love walking."

Mavis Mottlee, 83: "Having a good time. Laughter. Having good people to look after me."

Bert Higgins, 89: "Having a good wife. Adequate exercise and eating sensibly. Ballroom dancing kept us fit. We were ballroom dancers for over 60 years."

Gloria Higgins, 88: "Having fun. I like exercise. We walk around the lake every morning. I love music too."

Maureen Taylor, 80: "Do what you like to do. Be interested in doing a lot of things. I taught children music for more than 30 years. I loved it."



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