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Average life expectancy rises in Europe

March 30, 2012

The World Health Organisation says that life expectancy is increasing in Europe.

The average European is living longer than ever before, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.

Figures show that average life expectancy at birth is now more than 72 years for men and about 80 years for women across the 53 countries in the WHO European region.

Projections suggest that the proportion of over-65s will almost double between 2010 and 2050.

But with lifestyle-related diseases such as heart disease and type-2 diabetes becoming more common, the ageing population in Europe will place a considerable burden on health and social care services.

Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO's regional director for Europe, said: "Increasing life expectancy in Europe is a tremendous achievement and we need to match adding years to life with improved quality of life.

"Promoting healthy behaviour and ensuring age-friendly environments for all populations and age groups are important steps to add life to years."

Chancellor George Osborne recently revealed that future increases in the state pension age will be linked to life expectancy.

He told parliament earlier this month (March 2012) that automatic reviews will be carried out to ensure the state pension age continues to rise in line with increases in life expectancy.

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