Life expectancy predicted to top 90 for the first time by 2030

Life expectancy of humans is set to exceed 90 for the first time, according to new research.

Girls born in South Korea in 2030 will be the first to break the 90 barrier, researchers from Imperial College have forecast.

Good childhood nutrition and access to healthcare, coupled with low blood pressure and levels of smoking, are thought to contribute to high life expectancy in the east Asian country.

The study, funded by the UK Medical Research Council and published in The Lancet, also suggests that the life expectancy gap between men and women in the UK is narrowing.

Based on long-term data on mortality, researchers found that British men born in 2030 are expected to live until they are 82.5 years.

Women, meanwhile, are predicted to have a life expectancy of 85.3 years - a 2.8-year gap.

Life expectancy in South Korea could breach the 90 mark Credit: PA

This is down from a gap of four years for Britons born in 2010 - men born at the start of the decade are expected to live until 78.3 and women until 82.3.

Lead researcher Professor Majid Ezzati said: "Men traditionally had unhealthier lifestyles, and so shorter life expectancies.

"They smoked and drank more, and had more road traffic accidents and homicides.

"However, as lifestyles become more similar between men and women, so does their longevity."

Researchers predicted that a baby girl born in South Korea in 2030 will expect to live until she is 90.8 years old, and a boy 84.1.

Professor Ezzati added: "Many people used to believe that 90 years is the upper limit for life expectancy, but this research suggests we will break the 90-year-barrier.

"I don't believe we're anywhere near the upper limit of life expectancy - if there even is one."

Of the 35 countries ranked by life expectancy in 2030, Britain's men placed 14th, with women 21st.