Diabetes and obesity continue to rise in UK


London: Rates of obesity and diabetes continue to rise across England, although people are living longer than ever, the UK Government has revealed.

Obesity rates in England were by 2005 the highest among the 15 member states who then formed the European Union. Also life expectancy continues to increase.

A girl can expect to live to 81, more than a year and a half longer than a decade before. But life expectancy in the north of the country is shorter than in the south.

Women in the North East and North West live over two years less than those in the South East and South West, while men live over two and a half years less than their southern contemporaries.

In the decade ending in 2005 covered by the report, the proportion of obese men rose by over 40%, although the figures did start to fall slightly in the final year.

The proportion of obese women however rose by almost 35% and shows no signs of slowing. Among children, it was up by over 50%.

The figures for children are seen as much more precise than those for adults, as they are based on hard data provided by almost every school in the country, while the adult figures are extrapolated from sample surveys.

This latest report comes on the back of a major study into obesity sponsored by the government, which forecast that the majority of us would be obese by 2050.

Obesity is known to contribute to some health conditions, including type 2 diabetes. Overall rates for diabetes increased from 5.8% of the population to 8.4% between 1998 and 2004.

Other conditions on the increase include chronic liver disease and cirrhosis. This latest data shows that among females, rates for these diseases have increased above the average of Western Europe.

Mortality rates from cancer are on the decline, although the outcome still varies according to the specific type of the disease.

And life expectancy is improving for everyone. While a baby girl can now expect to live to 81.2, a baby boy can expect to live to 76.9, nearly 2.5 years longer than ten years previous, according to the 2005 statistics.

Women given liver transplants outlive male recipients by about four years

Birmingham: Female liver transplant recipients outlive men given the same procedure by an average of 4.5 years, suggests UK research to be published in the medical journal Gut.

And while younger people tend to live longest of all, they also stand to lose more years of their life compared with those who have not had liver transplants, the research shows.

The research team assessed the life expectancy and years of life lost of 2702 people who had received a liver transplant between 1985 and 2003, and who had survived more than six months afterwards.

The information was taken from the National Transplant Database, held by UK Transplant, and compared with that from healthy people matched for age and sex.

The analysis showed that, on average, after reaching the critical six month period, survival time for liver transplant recipients was 22 years compared with 29 years for the general population.

The life expectancy of male liver transplant recipients was 18 years compared with 26 years for women.

This compares with 27 years for men and 31 years for women in the general population, equating to twice as many years of life lost for male transplant recipients compared with their female counterparts.

Those aged between 17 and 34 had the highest life expectancy of 28 years after a liver transplant. But this compares with a life expectancy of 51 years for their peers in the general population.

Transplant recipients with primary liver disease fared significantly better than those undergoing the procedure because of hepatitis C infection, cirrhosis, or cancer.

The authors note that while one year survival rates have increased over time, death rates beyond this period have remained more or less the same.

They attribute this to the types of patients undergoing the procedure, who now include older, sicker patients, as well as the use of more “marginal” livers.

Life expectancy leap by decades

LONDON: Lifespan will increase by decades within thirty years because of scientific developments, a leading scientist has predicted.

In 2004, the UK Government’s Actuary Department statistics predicted that the average British male who lived to 65 could expect to reach 84.

But Cambridge-based biomedical gerontologist Aubrey de Grey says that decades-longer lives may change traditional patterns of family life, careers, retirement, education and child-raising and force radical changes to pensions.

Life expectancy has already risen sharply in Britain. On average, a man aged 65 could expect to live for another 12 years in 1950. This is expected to rise to 21.7 years by the middle of the century. Although life expectancy is higher for women, its increase is slower, possibly due to the fact that women are adopting male lifestyles including drinking and smoking.

Life expectancy grows in Norway

Oslo:The average life expectancy of Norwegians grew by 0.2 of a year from 2004 to 2005, according to new figures from Statistics Norway.

Norwegian men can now expect to reach the age of 77.7 years, while women have nearly an extra five years to look forward to, with their average life span now 82.5 years.

Over the last 20 years the Norwegian life expectancy has increased by nearly five years for men and nearly three for women. The difference between men and women was only smaller than it is now during the 1950s.

Since the 1990s more women have died in Norway than men due to an increasing majority of women in the age group with the highest mortality rate.

The increased life span is due both to sinking infant mortality, now at its lowest level ever, and reduced mortality for the elderly.

Japan has the highest life expectancy in the world, with 85.6 years for women and 78.6 for men.

People in their fifties likely to live to 100 years

Stanford: People in their 50s today can expect to live to 100, according to a leading US biologist.

Dr Shripad Tuljapurkar, from Stanford University in California, speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in St Louis, Missouri, said that medical advances including cholesterol-lowering drugs and new cancer medicines which have already treated some of the illnesses of old age would be joined by new discoveries, adding an extra 20 years of life for most people.

This means that by 2050, the average age of death will be 100 instead of 80. And means people may have more than one career and several marriages may become more common.

Life expectancy currently increases by one year every five years.At the moment, every five years life expectancy goes up by one year, he told the
But from 2010 onwards it could start to go up five years for every five calendar years that pass.

‘Lifespan has been increasing over the last 150 years and shows little sign of slowing down,’ said Dr Tuljapurkar.

‘Some people believe we are on the brink of being able to extend human lifespan significantly because we’ve got most of the technologies we need to do it.’

There are no specific ‘antiageing drugs’ yet, and scientists are still a long way from even beginning trials in humans.

But Dr Tuljapurkar said blood pressure drugs and statins are already helping prolong life for many. Statins help lower harmful cholesterol and are already taken by more than one million Britons.

In the future, he said, drugs may be found that can slow down cancer progression for decades rather than months or years.

He also predicted that drugs to control our metabolism may one day allow us to delay the normal tissue breakdown that is part of the ageing process.

Doctors may also develop treatments which enable our bodies to repair damage to the genetic material of our cells and so prevent the kind of mutations that lead to diseases such as cancer.

For his research, he looked at the U.S., China, Sweden and India and concluded that growing life expectancy could have huge economic consequences for all.

He warned that if anti-ageing drugs were developed, they would probably only be available in wealthy countries.