Life expectancy still low in Russia

LIFE expectancy in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union remains relatively low, despite a reduction in hazardous drinking, latest statistics show.

Compared with the UK, where in 2008 life expectancy was 77.9 years for males and 82 for females, Russian men could expect to live to 61.8 years and women to 74.2 years, researchers said.

Drawing on 40 years of data from the World Health Organization and the Human Mortality Database, they found life expectancy in Europe keeps increasing despite the obesity epidemic, with Britons living longer than Americans (80 versus 78 years) but the Japanese living longest.

In the past five years, most European countries had been going in a positive direction for the first time in decades, but it was shocking that life expectancy in Russia had returned only in 2008 to the level it was 40 years ago due to a reduction in alcohol-related deaths, they said.

Int J Epidemiology 2011, online