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The Real Twenty-first Century Babies

Report predicts most babies born since the year 2000 are expected to live to see their 100th birthday. But is this reason to celebrate?

Published in the Lancet Journal, the report claims that at least half of children born in developed countries will make it to ‘one hundred not out.’ Professor Kaare Christensen of the Danish Ageing Research Centre, said “The linear increase in record life expectancy for more than 165 years does not suggest a looming limit to human lifespan.”

Researchers predict that man could now be regarded as having four stages of life: child, adult, young-old age and old-old age. The report is also hopeful that the increased life expectancy will be accompanied by a concurrent postponement of severe disabilities and functional limitations.

This finding is especially important if we are to meet the challenges of an ageing population. Indeed, at the recent Labour Party conference, plans for a National Care Service to provide free at-home support for elderly people in the greatest need were announced. Longevity it seems will be the probable destiny and privilege of most people alive now in developed countries. Super-centenarians (age 110 to 119 years) may no longer not be considered quite so super. If nothing else, it may necessitate a change in policy for receiving royal birthday cards when one reaches the big 1-0-0.

The research, however, is exclusive to wealthy countries. In many of the world’s poorest countries, life expectancy remains at an inexcusable 40 years.

Rachel Webb

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