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Premature Death Rates could Fall by 40 Percent over Two Decades

Update Date: Sep 20, 2014 09:01 AM EDT

Premature death rates are expected to fall, a new study reported. According to the researchers, early deaths, which occur before the age of 70, might fall by 40 percent over the next two decades.

For this study, a team of 16 researchers, with lead author Ole Norheim, professor of global public health at the University of Bergen, Norway, examined the death patterns between 2000 and 2010. They found that premature mortality rates fell by one-third in children and by one-sixth in adults under the age of 70. The team reported that the rates of early death fell by 24 percent during this time frame in low-income countries.

The researchers stated that several factors could have led to the drastic decline in the early death rates seen in low-income nations. Over the past ten years, these countries have been able to treat infectious diseases more effectively. They have also improved sanitation, particularly in their drinking water, incorporated preventive measures and addressed economic factors. However, a lot more can still be done.

Based on the trends during this 10-year time frame, the researchers estimated that the early death rates could fall by 40 percent over the next 20 years. Norheim stated that one way to ensure that these rates will drop is to get more people to quit smoking. Other ways include incorporating more preventive services, increasing availability of vaccines and promoting better nutrition.

 "I don't think people realize how positive these trends are and how important this would be for health worldwide," Norheim stated according to TIME. "People's probability of surviving up to the age of 70 is actually much, much better now, compared to 1970."

The study, "Avoiding 40% of the premature deaths in each country, 2010-30: review of national mortality trends to help quantify the UN Sustainable Development Goal for health," was published in The Lancet.

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