News Details | 19-Nov-2012

Singaporeans live longer than counterparts in the tropics

Singaporeans can expect to live up to 80.6 years as life expectancy here has increased by 20.4 years between 1950 and 2010.

This means that the average Singaporean live about 16 years longer than their counterparts in other tropical countries. This despite the fact that life expectancy in the tropics has increased by 22.8 years to 64.4 between the years 1950 and 2010.

However, women in Singapore can still expect to live longer than men here as the life expectancy at birth for females here is 82.7 for the years 2005 to 2010, while for males, it is 78.5.

Singapore has also seen significant improvements in infant mortality rates, with only two deaths per 1,000 live births from 2005 to 2010, down from 61 deaths per 1,000 live births in the years 1950 to 1955. Infant mortality across all of the tropics has fallen from 161 deaths per 1,000 live births to 58 over the same period.

As a general rule, regions that have experienced large falls in the absolute infant mortality rate also report large improvements in life expectancy, with the exception of Central and Southern Africa where high mortality rates in the non-infant population, largely related to HIV/AIDS, have constrained overall improvements in life expectancy.

These findings were released today by 13 leading research institutions across 12 countries which are part of a world-wide initiative to define the challenges facing people living in the tropics. These institutions include Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Costa Rica’s Organisation for Tropical Studies, Fiji’s University of the South Pacific and Brazil’s Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia.

Professor George Magoha, Vice Chancellor of the University of Nairobi, today issued “Life Expectancy”, the first of four early papers ahead of the full “State of the Tropics Report” to be published next year.

Professor Bertil Andersson, NTU’s President, said that the university’s academic and research programmes, with real-world relevance, were well placed to support the aims of the State of the Tropics project.

“With our globally acknowledged strengths in science and engineering, NTU can help the peoples of the tropics generally in many areas of development,” Professor Andersson said.

The State of the Tropics Report will shine a light on the critical importance of the people and issues of the tropical world, and contribute to efforts to improve the lives of the peoples of the Tropic and their environment.

Professor Sandra Harding, the Vice Chancellor of Australia’s James Cook University which initiated the State of the Tropics project, said that over the past half-century, the Tropics has emerged as an increasingly critical region.

“More than 40% of the world’s population now lives in the Tropics and this is likely to be close to 50% by 2050,” she said. “The region generates around 20% of global economic output and is home to some 80% of the world’s biodiversity. However, the resources to sustain larger populations and economic growth are imposing ever-increasing pressures.”

Issues of concern include relatively poor health outcomes, with more than one billion people suffering from tropical diseases, unacceptable levels of infant mortality and reduced life expectancy; extreme poverty; poor educational outcomes; environmental degradation; and, in some cases, political and economic instability.

It is intended that the State of the Tropics Report will be published every five years with an annual State of the Tropics paper focusing on a key issue.

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Media contact:

Jeremy Koh
Assistant Director
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University
Tel: (65) 6790 6681

About Nanyang Technological University

A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has 33,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, and Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences. In 2013, NTU will enrol the first batch of students at its new medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, which is set up jointly with Imperial College London.

NTU is also home to four world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) and Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI).

A fast-growing university with an international outlook, NTU is putting its global stamp on Five Peaks of Excellence: Sustainable Earth, Future Healthcare, New Media, New Silk Road, and Innovation Asia.

Besides the main Yunnan Garden campus, NTU also has a satellite campus in Singapore’s science and tech hub, one-north and is setting up a third campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.

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