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How long will people be able to live in the future?


Published: August 3, 2018 

There's a lot of debate on the subject, and no one has settled on a single definitive answer, or even established an upper limit for how long we might eventually live. Huge advances in public health -- vaccines, antibiotics, clean water and food -- and a growing awareness of how to live a healthier life have helped our life expectancy go up in the past 150 years. People used to live into their 50s on average, and now Canadians are living into our 80s. 

Based on data, we expect Canadian life expectancy to continue to rise slightly in the next few decades. So by 2050, the average lifespan might reach 90. After that, though, it's hard to predict. Our climate, our technology, our lifestyles -- everything can change. 

Every Friday this summer, McMaster University chooses an expert to answer a selection of questions posed by alumni through the Question of the Week Club

This week's answer is provided by Dr. Parminder Raina, the scientific director of the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging and the Canada Research Chair in Geroscience. As principal investigator for the ground-breaking and comprehensive Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging, Dr. Raina's work brings together experts in physical, psychological and social health fields to unlock some of the greatest mysteries of aging that have the most impact on the health of Canadians. 

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