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Children's Health & Safety Association

Issue 43: July 2018

Thursday, 31 July 2014 11:45

World Health Statistics for 2014

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July 15, 2014 - According to the World Health Organization, children born in 2012 can expect to live six years longer than the average global life expectancy of a child born in 1990 – girls to the age of 72.7 and boys to the age of 68.1.

From 1990 to 2012, low-income countries such as Liberia, Ethiopia, the Maldives, Cambodia, Timor-Leste and Rwanda have made the greatest progress, with an average increase in life expectancy of 9 years despite the ongoing HIV pandemic.

A boy born in 2012 in a high-income country can expect to live to the age of about 76 – 16 years longer than a boy born in a low-income country. For girls, 19 years separates life expectancy in high-income and low-income countries – a difference of 82 to 63 years of age.

On a global platform women live longer than men. Women in Japan have the longest life expectancy in the world at 87 years, followed by Spain, Switzerland and Singapore. Female life expectancy in all the top 10 countries was 84 years or longer. Life expectancy among men is 80 years or more in nine countries, with the longest male life expectancy in Iceland, Switzerland and Australia.

whs-003In the sub-Saharan African countries including Angola, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Mozambique, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, life expectancy for both men and women is still less than 55 years.

Life expectancy at birth among men in 2012 ranked in the following order: Iceland, Switzerland, Australia, Israel, Singapore, New Zealand, Italy, Japan, Sweden and Luxembourg.

Life expectancy at birth among women in 2012 ranked the following order: Japan, Spain, Switzerland, Singapore, Italy, France, Australia, Republic of Korea, Luxembourg and Portugal.

Notable Statistics

  • Between 2000 and 2012, death caused by measles worldwide was reduced by almost 80% – from 562,000 to 122,000 deaths.
  • The risk of a child dying before their fifth birthday is 8 times higher in Africa than in Europe.
  • Nearly 800 women die every day due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth.
  • More than 2.5 billion people worldwide are estimated to be at risk of dengue infection.whs-004
  • In 2012, more than 140,000 people in high-income countries had pertussis (whooping cough), a serious disease in infants that is preventable by vaccination.
  • Globally, preterm-birth complications were the leading cause of under-five deaths in 2012 at 17.3%; followed by pneumonia at 15.2%, birth asphyxia and birth trauma at 11.4%, non-communicable diseases at 10.8% and diarrhea at 9.5%.
  • In 2012, an estimated 44 million of the world’s children under five years of age were overweight or obese. This number has increased from 31 million in 1990. The number of overweight children increased from 4 to 10 million over the same period in the African region alone.
  • The top ten changes in major causes of death in children under the age of five between 2000 and 2010 are:

    1. measles reduced by 80%
    2. HIV-AIDS reduced by 51%
    3. Diarrhea reduced by 50%
    4. Pneumonia reduced by 40%
    5. Malaria reduced by 37%
    6. Other infectious, perinatal and nutritional – reduced by 30%
    7. Intra-partum related complications – reduced by 29%
    8. Injuries – reduced by 22%
    9. Preterm birth complications – reduced by 14%
    10. Non-communicable diseases –reduced by 11%

The World Health Organization publishes an annual report on health statistics, which contains data for its 194 member states, and a summary of the progress made towards achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This report also includes summaries on:

  • the ongoing commitment to end preventable maternal deaths;
  • the need to act now to combat rising levels of childhood obesity;
  • trends in both life expectancy and premature deaths; and
  • the crucial role of civil registration and vital statistics systems in national and global advancement.


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