The longevity gap Unequal lives: More centenarians in affluent countries; some progress for poor.


LOOKING toward the 21st century, the World Health Organization projects significant gains in health benefits. But troubling gaps remain between affluent and developing countries.

In the industrialized world, the support and care of an aging population will be an increasingly urgent concern. Consider that France, which in 1950 had about 200 people who reached the age of 100, is projected to have 150,000 centenarians by 2050.

In poor countries, fewer people will live to see old age. But the longevity gap is closing, as more children are vaccinated against common childhood diseases and more people have access to clean water and adequate sanitation facilities.

Congress can do its part by shoring up aid that addresses these needs, rather than military ambitions -- and especially by giving up its annual partisan battles over the family planning aid that preserves the health and lives of thousands of poor women and children.

Pub Date: 6/06/98

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