The Global Burden of Disease study, which shows the key drivers of ill health, disability and death in individual countries, found that by 2015, the world population had gained more than a decade of life expectancy since 1980 – rising to 69.0 years in men and 74.8 years in women.
Among main contributors to this were large falls in death rates for many communicable or infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, malaria and diarrhoea. The rate of people dying from cardiovascular disease and cancers has also fallen, the study found, although at a slower pace.
The study analysed 249 causes of death, 315 diseases and injuries and 79 risk factors in 195 countries and territories between 1990 and 2015.
Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, which led the study, said its results painted a picture of patchy health gains across the world, driven in part by economic development.
“Development drives, but does not determine health,” he said in a statement as the findings were published in The Lancet medical journal.