Greeks live longer today than 20 years ago

Greeks today are living longer than ever before, thanks to advanced medical technology and better preventative medicine, says Dimitrios Trichopoulos, who teaches medicine at both Harvard University and the University of Athens. According to recent figures, Greeks over the age of 65 are living about two years longer than they did 20 years ago. This shows the effectiveness of modern medicine, Trichopoulos said. «For many years, and this is also the case in developed countries, prevention has dominated and had visible results,» Trichopoulos said. «Until 1970, even in North America, the higher survival rates are due mainly to reducing the untimely deaths of children and young people through the expansion of vaccination programs, purification of the water supply, as well as a better diet and better living conditions.» The increasing adult lifespan was first noted in economically developed countries. Trichopoulos said people in those countries already had the underlying conditions for better overall health: fewer people smoke, and there is better treatment of chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease, as well as advances on treating certain kinds of cancer. In Greece, people aged 65 years and older made up 18 percent of the population in 2001, compared to 11 percent in 1967. This is due to the lower mortality rate and the fact that modern couples are having fewer children. The country’s aging population means retirement and health costs will escalate in the coming years. In a recent interview with Kathimerini, Trichopoulos discussed medical advances and what they mean to Greece.

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