Life Expectancy

Children playing on a beach, 1940s. The Yoruba say “Ogun omode k’ole sere fun ogun odun,” meaning, even these ones cannot be together like this forever. Source: NNP

Life Expectancy is an estimate of the number of years individual new born infants would live under the prevailing mortality risks within a population. Life expectancy is often indicated at the time of birth. According to UNICEF (1997), life expectancy for individuals in the least developed countries is 43 years, compared with the 78 years of individuals from the most developed countries. An increase by about 30 years has been projected for sub-Saharan Africa in the year 2050. Longevity in women is higher than in men for rich and poor countries apparently due partly to the differences between the sexes in alcohol and tobacco consumption. Accidents, suicide and incidence of chronic diseases have been fingered too as culpable. Generally, the choice of food and pattern of diet contribute to longevity in humans, but good quality food must be evaluated by the ease with which it is ingested, digested, absorbed, assimilated, and eliminated.

The nutritional status of the Nigerian population as well as those of other developing countries contribute to their high maternal and infant mortality rates, consequent respectively of maternal malnutrition and low birth weights in the mother and the child. Over 90 percent of maternal deaths occur in developing countries, and low birth weight is three times more prevalent in them than it is in more industrialized countries. Staked around 52 years in Nigeria, Life expectancy is even lower in many developing countries. In developed countries it averages 70 years. Longer and healthier lives are achievable through a delicate balance of diet, relaxation, exercise, and rest.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer