PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A new study claims that mandatory military service is indirectly responsible for the high life expectancy of Israeli men.
The World Health Organization reports that the average life expectancy for Israeli men in 2015 was 80.6 years, far surpassing the worldwide average of 68.5 years.
Researchers at the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies believe the increase is due to a mandatory 32-month period of military service in the Israeli Defense Forces.
The study indicates that military service contributes to physical fitness and improves overall health and life expectancy.
“In Israel, the army is one of the agencies with a particular status that allows it to impact public health,” Prof. Alex Weinreb said. “If Israel did not have the compulsory military service and spending that it currently has, male life expectancy in Israel would probably be much lower.”
Weinreb noted that data from more than 130 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries showed that male populations in countries with mandatory military service live three years longer than civil counterparts.
The amount spent on health and the general accessibility to medical care was taken into account, as well as demographic characteristics like population growth, crowding, and fertility rates.
Weinreb also mentioned that populations along a coast are generally healthier. Yet, none of these mentioned variables alone could account for the variance in life expectancy.