(ATTN: UPDATES with quote by official; ADDS details)
SEJONG, Dec. 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korean babies born in 2017 are expected to live more than 82 years, government data showed Monday, as a growing number of people take care of their health by receiving regular medical checkups and treatment.
Life expectancy at birth averaged 82.7 years in 2017, three months longer than a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.
The average life expectancy for South Koreans stood at 62.3 years in 1970 when South Korea began to compile relevant data.
Kim Rak-hyeon, a deputy director handling the issue at Statistics Korea, said improved public awareness of health and the policy on medical checkups have contributed to the dramatic hike in life expectancy in recent decades.
Baby boys and girls born in 2017 were expected to live 79.7 years and 85.7 years, respectively, with the male-female difference narrowing by one month to 6 years.
South Korea's life expectancies for male and female babies are 1.7 years and 2.4 years longer than the average of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group of 36 developed, high-income market economies.
The average life expectancy for people in OECD countries stood at 80.6 years, according to Statistics Korea.
The statistics report also showed that a 40-year-old man in 2017 is expected to live for the next 40.7 years, while a 40-year-old woman could live till she is 86.5 years old. For those aged 60 in 2017, men are expected to have 22.8 remaining years with the number for women hitting 27.4 years.
A baby boy born in 2017 has a 59.6 percent chance of reaching 80, while the chances of a baby girl becoming an octogenarian stood at 79.6 percent.
The chances that a person could die of cancer in the future stood at 27.1 percent for male babies and 16.2 percent for female babies, while the death rate from heart diseases stood at 10.2 percent for men and 13.4 percent for women.
If the death risk from cancer is excluded, the life expectancies for male and female babies go up 4.8 years and 2.8 years, respectively, the report said.
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