Life expectancy in the world's industrialized countries is highest in Japan and lowest in the Soviet Union and Hungary, according to the first-ever survey on mortality in all developed countries.
The World Health Organization, which published the survey Friday in its weekly Epidemiological Record, said official statistics supplied by the Soviet Union have now "made it possible to prepare an overall assessment" of health conditions in the 33 countries.The population of the countries totals about 1.2 billion, about one fourth of the world total.
According to the survey, the chances of dying from cancer in the developed nations are 1 in 6, and almost 500,000 annual deaths below age 65 are related to cigarette smoking.
The average life expectancy in the developed countries is now 73.7 years. The Japanese rate is 79.1 years, or almost a decade longer than the Soviet rate of 69.7 years.
All Western countries listed life expectancies above the average. They included Switzerland at 77.6 years; Sweden, 77.1; Spain, 76.6; Canada, and the Netherlands, 76.5; Australia and Norway, 76.4; France 75.9; West Germany, 75.8; Italy, 75.5; the United States, 75.0, and Belgium, 74.6.
Life expectancy in all East European countries was below the average; East Germany ranked highest at 73.2 years.
Heart disease, cancer, and stroke are the leading causes of death in the developed countries, according to the survey. About 1 in 3 people will die from heart disease, 1 in 6 from cancer and 1 in 7 from stroke.
The survey cited "the very substantial premature mortality that arises due to cigarette smoking and other detrimental health behaviors."
About 1.5 million of the 11 million deaths recorded each year in the 33 countries are related to smoking, according to the survey.