Spain, the second country with the highest life expectancy of the OECD

With an average of 83 years, Spain is the second country with the highest life expectancy at birth among the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), according to its latest report, published this Friday. This value is almost three years higher than the average of the 35 member countries of the Organization, which stands at 80.6 years. Only Japan, where this indicator reaches 83.9 years, exceeds the Spanish brand.

From 1970 to 2015, life expectancy in Spain has improved in more than ten years, from 70 to over 80. By sex, women live up to five years longer than men, and exceed 85 years on average, as in Japan, France, South Korea and Switzerland.

Spain also occupies the top positions in life expectancy after 65 years. The report shows that after reaching this age, Spaniards live an average of 21 more years, which puts them in third place in the table behind Japan and France. However, as the study warns, this indicator does not mean that these years are lived in optimal health conditions. In fact, when this variable is taken into account, life expectancy after 65 falls to 9.2 years, below the OECD average (9.4 years).

The high life expectancy rates in combination with low fertility rates - 1.3 children per woman, one of the ten lowest in the world, according to the World Bank - makes Spain one of the countries with the worst projection in the world. as to aging of the population. In 2050, according to the calculations reflected in the document, almost 40% of the Spanish population will be over 65 years old. A proportion only surpassed, again, by Japan.

Health investment

In health expenditure, Spain is also below the Organization's average. According to the document, the Spanish State spends on average around 2,800 euros per inhabitant per year, almost 700 euros less than the average value of the 35 countries, which exceeds 3,400 euros. Any of these two figures is well below the almost 8,500 euros that the United States spends per person. Spain is one of the countries in which investment in health fell the most during the years of the crisis. Between 2009 and 2013, the State increased spending by 0.6 points. In previous years, this rate reached 3.4 points.

If health personnel per capita is taken into account, Spain suspends in the number of nurses: there are 5.3 per 1,000 inhabitants, compared to 9 on average in the body. The same does not occur with the number of doctors, 3.9 per 1,000 inhabitants, five tenths above the common value. Regarding access to healthcare, 99.8% of Spaniards have access to public health, which is two points above the OECD average (97.9).

Smokers and sedentary

Despite the Anti-Tobacco Law of 2006 - which prohibits smoking, among other places, in workplaces - Spain is one of the ten countries with the highest percentage of daily smokers, more than 20% of the population. In the European environment, only Latvia, Hungary and Greece exceed this proportion.

More positive are the data on alcohol consumption. Spaniards exceed the average of liters of alcohol per person consumed in a year (9 liters for all countries), but this amount has been reduced in recent years. Between 2000 and 2015, the annual intake decreased by almost two liters, from around 11 to 9.3, according to data on consumption habits included in the document. In fact, the percentage of the population that regularly abuses alcohol does not reach 10%, which makes it the second country with the least excessive consumption of ethyl alcohol only behind Hungary.

In relation to another of the main risk factors for health, obesity, Spain - with 17% - is far below countries such as the United States and Mexico, at the head of the ranquin with 38% and 33% of the population in this situation. However, Spaniards are in the queue in the practice of exercise. Only 47% of those over 15 years of age perform moderate physical activity on a daily basis, the worst percentage in all of Europe.