New Zealanders' life expectancy keeps increasing
By Martin Johnston
4:00 AM Tuesday Dec 29, 2009

Start saving for a long retirement. We're going to live far longer if last century's revolutionary changes in health and medicine continue.

Some average New Zealanders' extra years on Earth will be attributable to developments in medical science - the next-generation Herceptin, perhaps, or the perfection of artificially grown liver transplants. Or the eventual introduction of a polypill, or the wider use of statins to reduce cholesterol.

Lifestyle

Much of the anticipated extra life expectancy will be down to lifestyle - good diet, exercise and not smoking.

"We're gaining about a month a year in life expectancy, which is pretty amazing," says Auckland University epidemiologist Professor Rod Jackson.

"I don't think there's any suggestion that it's slowing down. It is driven primarily by reductions in vascular disease, primarily heart attacks and strokes. I don't think there's any indication that there's any kind of upper limit that we can't go beyond."

More here.