London: Experts are predicting that more than a million people born in the UK and now aged 30 could live to be 100 years old and more.
Currently there are around 10,000 centenarians but this figure could grow to 1.2million by 2074. In effect this means that one in eight people could live to be 100 while thousands of others will live to be 110 or more, acccording to statistics from the UK Government’s Actuary Department.This spurt in longevity is attributed to better diet and medical care.
Improved diet and lifestyle, especially among the affluent, are also responsible. And the decline of heavy industry means that workers are far less likely to be exposed to the health risks and dangers or heavy machinery.
The increased use of cholesterollowering drugs in recent years has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Under new prescription guidance to GPs, up to one in ten adults could end up taking statins to prevent cardiovascular disease.
This could save 20,000 lives a year while some experts believe a quarter of Britons could end up taking the drugs for life.
Doctors now perform regular screening to detect diseases such as cervical cancer and the breakthrough of drugs such as herceptin to treat breast cancer are helping to keep the number of deaths down.
The eradication of many infectious diseases during the last century has had a huge impact.
Child immunisation, better sanitation and increased use of antibiotics have swept away most cases of smallpox, diphtheria and tuberculosis.
Britons are also more aware than ever of the benefits of taking regular exercise. This can help reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, strokes and diabetes.
Countless studies have also shown that eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables can help control cholesterol and prevent some types of cancer.
The growth in longevity would also have a big impact on the size of the UK population as a whole, with the number of people living in the country growing to 75million by 2074 based on these figures.
The population could soar even higher, to 90million, if the highest projections for fertility rates and immigration are also factored in.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics last year revealed big differences across the UK. People living in Scotland and the north of England came out worse, with the lowest life expectancy for both men and women found in Glasgow. In contrast those men living in the affluent area of Kensington and Chelsea in London enjoyed the longest lifespan, at 80.8 years – 11.5 years more than in Glasgow. Women in this area also had the longest life expectancy at 85.8 years, compared with 76.4 in Glasgow.