Israeli life expectancy up 10 years since 1970

OECD reports that in all 35 member countries, average life expectancy has increased by 10.3 years since 1970.

By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

In its “Health at a Glance 2017” report, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) attributed a significant rise in life expectancy to healthier lifestyles, higher incomes, better education and improved health care.

Relative to OECD countries, life expectancy in Israel is high – 82.1 in 2015. Japan leads at 83.9.

The Central Bureau of Statistics also reports that Israel spends only $2,822 on average per capita. This translates to 7.4% of its Gross Domestic Product (including investments), a number that has been stable for an entire decade.

Among all OECD-member countries, the average spending per capita in 2016 was $4,003 – and in the US it is an eye-popping $9,892 per year, or 17.2% of the gross domestic product.

This is a strong indicator that spending more does not necessarily mean people are getting value for their money. American spending on health has increased much more than in other countries since 1995, says the report, yet life expectancy gains have been smaller. The US sits in the middle of the pack, at 81 years.

The OECD report recommends reducing wasteful spending, as it is the key to maximizing the impact of public resources on health outcomes. Suggestions included prescribing antibiotics as seldom as possible, and here Israel ranks 13th out of 31 countries reporting data.

In terms of survival rates for serious diseases, the CBS reports that Israel gets high grades. Out of 22 countries, Israel is ranked 5th lowest for deaths after stroke and 12th lowest for deaths after heart attack. Meanwhile, five-year breast cancer survival rates ranked 8th highest, while colon cancer survival was the highest among all OECD countries.

Also in terms of health dangers related to obesity and alcohol consumption, Israel is doing well. While 53% of Israelis are overweight, only 17% are obese. In comparison, the OECD average is 19% (in the US, it is a shocking 30%). Among the adult population, there is a huge difference in alcohol consumption between Israel and the other 34 countries. In the Jewish state, the average is 2.6 liters per capita per year, compared to the OECD average of 9 liters.

Of course, there is always what to improve. In the smoking department, Israel is just a touch higher than average in that 19.6% of the population over 15 smokes daily (compared to the OECD at 19%), although this is a decrease from 24.1% in 2000.