OECD: Switzerland tops 34 nations for life expectancy at 82.8

Jan. 7, 2014 at 2:04 AM

PARIS, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Switzerland leads a study of 34 nations for life expectancy at 82.8 years, followed by Japan at 82.7, Italy at 82.7, Spain at 82.7 and Iceland at 82.4.

Health at a Glance, a report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, analyzed data from 34 countries and found the OECD average life expectancy was 80.1 last year.

Higher health spending per capita tends to be associated with lower mortality rates and higher life expectancy, but this is not the case for the United States. The relatively low life expectancy of Americans is particularly striking given how much they spend on their healthcare.

The United States spends much more on health per capita than all other OECD countries at $8,500 in 2011, two-and-a-half times greater than the OECD average at $3,322 and 5 percent higher than Norway and Switzerland -- the next biggest spending countries, the report said.

The United States life expectancy was at 78.7 years in 2011, an increase of almost eight years since 1970, but significantly less than the 10-year gain across OECD countries. Life expectancy is now more than a year below the OECD average of 80.1, compared with one year above the average in 1970.

The gap between the United States and leading countries has also widened. For example, the life expectancy for U.S. men in 2011 was 4.2 years shorter than in Switzerland -- up from less than than 3 years in 1970; for U.S. women, it was 4.8 years shorter than in Japan in 2011, while there was no gap in 1970, the report said.

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