Human Longevity in the Past and the Present

There are two important sets of questions about historical trends. First, how long do people live, why is longevity increasing, and how long will we live in the future? Second, given that we are living longer, are we mostly gaining healthy years of life or are we "living longer but doing worse"? We know a lot more about the first question, partly because death is much easier to define and measure than health or functional status. In the United States, for example, there have been health


FIGURE 1 Life expectancy at birth by sex, France 1806-2004. Source: From Refs. 2,5.

TABLE 2 Estimated and Projected Population Size for Major World Regions,1950-2025, with Percent Under Age 15 and Over Age 65
How To Add Ten Years To Your Life

How To Add Ten Years To Your Life

When over eighty years of age, the poet Bryant said that he had added more than ten years to his life by taking a simple exercise while dressing in the morning. Those who knew Bryant and the facts of his life never doubted the truth of this statement.

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