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Do Muslims live longer?

Living longer is a common aspiration for people across the globe, regardless of their religious or cultural background. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in understanding the factors that influence life expectancy among different populations. One particular area of focus has been the life expectancy of Muslims. It is observed that Muslims are living much longer than they did just a generation ago. The average life expectancy at birth in Muslim-majority countries, which was 62 years in the five-year period 1990-95, is estimated to be 68 years in 2010-15. This increase in life expectancy among Muslims raises important questions about the contributing factors and the potential impact of cultural and religious practices on longevity.

Factors contributing to increased life expectancy among Muslims

Improvements in healthcare infrastructure

One of the key factors contributing to the increased life expectancy among Muslims is the significant improvements in healthcare infrastructure. Over the years, there has been a notable expansion of hospitals and healthcare facilities in Muslim-majority countries. This expansion has ensured increased access to medical services for individuals, leading to better health outcomes. Moreover, advancements in medical technology have played a crucial role in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of various diseases, thereby improving the overall life expectancy.

Economic development and increased standard of living

Another contributing factor to the increased life expectancy among Muslims is the economic development and the subsequent rise in the standard of living. Economic progress in Muslim-majority countries has resulted in higher income levels, which in turn, has enabled individuals to afford better healthcare services. Additionally, improved nutrition and diet, as a result of increased economic prosperity, has had a positive impact on overall health. Better living conditions and improved sanitation also play a role in reducing the incidence of communicable diseases and promoting healthy living.

Education and awareness

Education and awareness among Muslim populations have greatly influenced their life expectancy. The increased literacy rates in many Muslim-majority countries have empowered individuals to make informed decisions about their health and wellness. Access to information on preventive healthcare practices, such as regular health screenings, vaccinations, and early detection of diseases, has contributed to better health outcomes and longevity among Muslims.

Cultural and religious factors influencing life expectancy

Dietary practices

Cultural and religious practices among Muslims, such as dietary habits, have also been identified as factors that contribute to increased life expectancy. The Islamic faith emphasizes the importance of consuming wholesome and nutritious food. Muslims are encouraged to follow a balanced diet and to avoid excessive consumption. The practice of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan has also been associated with health benefits, including improved insulin sensitivity and cardiovascular health.

Prohibition of harmful substances

Another cultural and religious factor that positively influences life expectancy among Muslims is the prohibition of harmful substances. Islam strictly prohibits the consumption of alcohol and advises against the use of tobacco and other addictive substances. These restrictions help reduce the risk of developing various health conditions associated with the use of such substances, including liver disease, lung cancer, and cardiovascular problems.

Emphasis on community support and social connections

Muslim communities place a strong emphasis on building and maintaining social connections, which can have a positive impact on overall health and well-being. Strong family and social networks provide a sense of belonging, emotional support, and reduced stress levels. These factors contribute to better mental health and ultimately, to a longer lifespan.

Challenges and disparities in life expectancy among Muslims

Socioeconomic inequality

While there have been significant improvements in life expectancy among Muslims, challenges and disparities still exist. Socioeconomic inequality is one major barrier that affects healthcare access and affordability. Disparities in income levels and poverty rates result in unequal access to essential healthcare services, medications, and treatments. Therefore, targeted interventions are crucial to address these disparities and ensure equitable healthcare for all Muslims.

Cultural barriers to healthcare utilization

Cultural norms and beliefs can also pose barriers to healthcare utilization among Muslim populations. Stigma and misconceptions surrounding seeking medical help due to cultural and religious traditions can lead to delayed or inadequate healthcare treatment. It is important to address these cultural barriers and provide culturally sensitive healthcare services in order to bridge this gap and improve health outcomes.

Political and conflict-related challenges

In conflict zones and regions affected by political instability, Muslims face additional challenges that impact their life expectancy. Disruption of healthcare services due to conflict can result in limited access to essential medical care, medications, and treatments. Displacement and instability further exacerbate health risks and negatively impact life expectancy. Humanitarian efforts, both locally and internationally, are needed to address these challenges and ensure access to adequate healthcare for Muslims living in these regions.


In conclusion, Muslims are living longer today compared to the previous generation. The increase in life expectancy can be attributed to various factors, including improvements in healthcare infrastructure, economic development, and increased standard of living, as well as education and awareness about health. Cultural and religious practices such as dietary habits, prohibition of harmful substances, and emphasis on community support and social connections also contribute to longer lives among Muslims. However, challenges and disparities in life expectancy still exist, particularly related to socioeconomic inequality, cultural barriers, and political instability. Efforts to improve healthcare access, address disparities, and provide culturally sensitive care are vital to ensure better health outcomes for all Muslims and further increase their life expectancy.


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