Want to live an extra six years?


A nine-month old report by the McKinsey Health Institute is even more relevant today as we tenuously cling to the hope we may be returning to normal and have plenty to live for

Over the past century, life expectancy has dramatically increased in most parts of the world. But the portion of life we human beings spend in moderate and poor health hasn’t changed, says the report.

This means we spend more years in poor health than at any point in history.

Moreover, significant inequity continues to exist across and within countries.

Humanity mobilized against COVID-19 at a speed and scale previously unseen. While far from perfect, our success should inspire us to challenge what we think is possible, according to the report.

“At its best, our response to COVID-19 demonstrates that when resources and motivation coalesce, scientific breakthroughs and large-scale behaviour change are possible in very short periods of time.

“It’s time to set a new, more ambitious, more relevant goal for human health—a goal that galvanizes across continents, sectors, and communities to support everyone on the planet in adding years to their lives and life to their years, the report says.

As a starting point for discussion, the McKinsey Health Institute (MHI) believes that over the next decade humanity could add as many as 45 billion extra years of higher-quality life—roughly six years per person on average, and substantially more in some countries and populations.

The institute says that achieving this objective requires us, as a society, to challenge our beliefs about health and re-orient material portions of public policy and the economy.

It requires viewing health as an investment, not an expense.

It requires embracing a modernised understanding of health, including physical, mental, social, and spiritual health and the full richness of factors that influence those elements of holistic health.

It requires scaling solutions that work, which could address 40 percent of the disease burden.

It requires dramatically more innovation and leadership from institutions outside of the traditional healthcare industry.

And it requires fully empowering individuals to steward their own health.


The report was prepared by Erica CoeMartin Dewhurst, Lars Hartenstein, Anna Hextall, and Tom Latkovic