Chinese babies born today are expected to live healthier lives than babies born in America, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Though overall life expectancy in the United States continues to be longer than that in China, the number of those years spent healthy are now higher for Chinese children.
> According to the data, which comes from 2016, China’s “healthy life expectancy” is 68.7 years compared to 68.5 years for the US. While that may not seem like much of a difference, it is part of a trend that has seen China catching up with and even surpassing the US in terms of its citizens’ long-term health.
> The US still bests China in overall life expectancy; 78.5 years to 76.4 years. How healthy life expectancy differs from that overall measure is that it also factors in morbidity data, such as how often people fall ill at a given age, in order to provide an estimation of how long an individual can expect to live in good health. Of course, simply living longer is always good, but it also matters how many of those years are spent dealing with serious health issues.
As in China, healthy life expectancy has been improving across the globe, with a notable exception – the U.S. is one of the only countries to experience regression on this metric.
> According to WHO data, China’s healthy life expectancy was 64.8 back in 2000 compared to 67.4 for the US, which has actually seen its healthy life expectancy fall since 2010, going from 68.7 to 68.5.
Shanghaiist notes, however, that neither China nor the U.S. have bragging rights when it comes to global rankings – China comes in at 37th and the U.S. even lower at 40th.