Low Life Expectancies Resulting in Shortgevity Crisis
NEW YORK (April 17, 2006)”” As the majority of the world grows older, thirty two nations still have life expectancies less then 50, creating a “shortgevity” crisis, says the International Longevity Center-USA (ILC-USA) in their 2005 Annual Report.
“In the 20th century, we gained over thirty years of life. That’s greater than what was attained in the previous 5,000 years of human history,” observed Dr. Robert N. Butler, president and CEO of the International Longevity Center-USA, “yet there is great longevity divide in our world.”
Current life expectancy ranges from 51.3 years in Africa to 77.7 years in North America. Diarrheal and pulmonary diseases are the number one cause of death and one-third of all persons in the world suffer from tuberculosis.
Even nations in the developed world can experience a shortening of life, notes Dr. Butler, who first coined the term “shortgevity” in 2003. This is the case of the former Soviet Union and Soviet Bloc affected by reemerging infections and AIDS. And in the U.S. some poor and minority populations within Baltimore, Harlem and the Delta region of Arkansas live no longer than Bangladeshi men.
“As an economist and corporate leader, I am deeply concerned about the effects of shortgevity upon the global economy,” says Dr. Max Link, chair of the ILC-USA board of directors in his “Letter from the Chair.” “It is difficult to imagine successful globalization if societies have large numbers of unhealthy, unproductive citizens. The citizens of nations suffering from shortgevity cannot produce, buy, sell or exchange products and services.”
In addition to bringing attention to shortgevity, the ILC-USA’s annual report also recaps many of the organizations accomplishments in 2005. Highlights include:
- ILC-USA’s participation in the 2005 White House Conference on Aging.
- Alliance for Health & the Future, a joint venture between ILC-USA, ILC-UK and ILC-France, promotes healthy aging and productive engagement.
- The Sleep Project is launched to explore the relationship between sleep and older adults.
- In-depth research in Arkansas examines whether the state’s unique aging program is a potential model for the nation.
- Sub-Saharan Africa and Argentina join the ILC International Partnership.