Life expectancy serves as a significant indicator of a nation's overall health and wellbeing. Historically, it was relatively short for humans, but as societies progressed, medical advances, improved nutrition, better sanitation, and enhanced public health policies transformed the human lifespan. Today, it is essential to consider the relationship between life expectancy and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations in 2015. The SDGs are a set of 17 interconnected goals, which, when viewed collectively, depict a roadmap to a better future by 2030. They address global challenges, including poverty, inequality, climate change, peace, and justice. Among these, SDG 3, which specifically aims to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages,” holds direct pertinence to life expectancy. One of its targets is to end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5, significantly reducing maternal mortality and combating various diseases. Each of these targets, when achieved, can significantly raise life expectancy in affected regions.
Furthermore, the interconnectivity of SDGs means that even goals not directly related to health have an indirect impact on life expectancy. For instance, SDG 2, which emphasizes zero hunger, can lead to improved nutrition. Better nourished populations tend to have fewer health issues and longer life spans. Similarly, SDG 6, ensuring access to clean water and sanitation, directly diminishes the spread of many diseases, thereby boosting life expectancy. Additionally, SDG 11 aims for sustainable cities and communities, and as urban areas often face health challenges like air pollution, improving urban life can significantly enhance its residents' lifespan.
However, it's not just about lengthening life but improving its quality. The underlying philosophy of the SDGs is to create a world where everyone can live a fulfilling life, free from preventable diseases, hunger, and inequality. Achieving this requires a holistic approach, addressing not just direct health challenges but also the root socio-economic and environmental issues. For instance, the ripple effects of climate action (SDG 13) or quality education (SDG 4) are felt in every aspect of life, from individual health to community wellbeing, which in turn, plays a role in determining life expectancy. The beauty of the SDGs is that they recognize these intricate connections.
The Lancet Regional Health - Western Pacific, Volume 32, March 2023
Boissonneault, M. and Rios, P., 2021. Changes in healthy and unhealthy working-life expectancy over the period 2002–17: a population-based study in people aged 51–65 years in 14 OECD countries. The Lancet Healthy Longevity, 2(10), pp.e629-e638.
The Lancet Planetary Health, Volume 5, June 2021
Temperature affects many life processes, but its effect might be expected to differ among eukaryotic organisms inhabiting similar environments. We reviewed literature on temperature thresholds of humans, livestock, poultry, agricultural crops, and sparse examples of fisheries. We found that preferable and harmful temperatures are similar for humans, cattle, pigs, poultry, fish, and agricultural crops. Preferable temperatures range from 17°C to 24°C. Stress temperature thresholds are lower when humidity is higher.
4 July 2017
Background Healthy life expectancy (HALE) and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) provide summary measures of health across geographies and time that can inform assessments of epidemiological patterns and health system performance, help to prioritise investments in research and development, and monitor progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We aimed to provide updated HALE and DALYs for geographies worldwide and evaluate how disease burden changes with development.