Russians started drinking less and living longer; Russians’ life expectancy increased to 71.2 years.

Man in Silhoette with Bottle of Alcohol and Head in Hand

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – – ELEONORA GOLDMAN, RBTH – March 10, 2016)

Infant mortality decreased by 12 percent in 2015 and Russians’ life expectancy has increased to just over 71.2 years, said Russian Minister of Health Veronika Skvortsova during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on March 9, 2016. Meanwhile, she noted that the general aging of the population continues with every fourth person in the country being older than 60.

The decline of infant and maternal mortality

Skvortsova named the decline of infant and maternal mortality as being among the major factors.

“Infant mortality decreased by 12 percent and even more in 2015, reaching 6.5 per 1,000 live births and dropped by another 4.6 percent in January to 6.2 per 1,000. This is an absolute historic minimum,” she said.

Maternal mortality has also dropped by over 11 percent.

According to the Ministry of Health, Russians’ life expectancy has increased to just over 71.2 years and much of the increase was observed among men.

“Thus, although we still have a high discrepancy in life expectancy between men and women, it has been reduced slightly,” Skvortsova said. “And although the gap used to be higher than 11 years, at 11.2 years, it has now declined to a difference of 10.8 years.”

“Have they started drinking less?”

The president asked, “Have they started drinking less?” referring to the population on the whole and men in particular. Skvotsova said that it was a factor as the mortality rate among the working age population decreased by 4.5 percent on average.

Skvortsova said that the decrease in the mortality rate was “due to healthy lifestyle changes, a decrease in smoking and alcohol consumption, as well as many other factors.”

The minister highlighted that the continued reduction of smoking and alcohol consumption offered great potential for further decreasing mortality and that the Ministry of Health was working in this area.

According to Skvortsova, the main factor affecting the death rate is old age. “Twenty four percent of the population is over 60,” she said.

Overall, 2,200 fewer people died in Russia in 2015 than the year before that, Skvortsova said.

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