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Lives longest in Japan, San Marino

Associated Press / May 22, 2009
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GENEVA - A girl born in Japan today will probably live to celebrate her 86th birthday, the longest life expectancy anywhere in the world. Men fare best in the tiny, wealthy European nation of San Marino, where the average boy will live to 81.

The West African country of Sierra Leone has the shortest life expectancy for men - just 39 - while Afghanistan fares badly for both sexes, with men and women living to 41 and 42 years respectively.

Those figures come from the World Health Organization, which announced its annual health statistics yesterday on the year 2007, the latest available.

The data showed that some countries have made remarkable progress in increasing life expectancy since 1990, partly by ending wars, partly through successful health initiatives.

Eritrea increased its average life expectancy during that period by 33 years to 61 for men and by 12 years to 65 for women. In Liberia, the figure for men jumped 29 years to 54, and rose 13 years to 58 for women. Angola, Bangladesh, Maldives, Niger, and East Timor also increased their average life expectancies for men and women by 10 years.

In the United States, life expectancy was up to 76 from 72 years for men and to 81 from 79 for women.

Other countries, meanwhile, showed a sharp decline since 1990, especially in Africa.

In Russia, the average life expectancy for men dropped to 60 from 64 years since the time of the Soviet Union. For women the drop was to 73 from 74 years.

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