Health in South Korea
Life expectancy has been rising rapidly and South Korea ranked 11th in the world for life expectancy in 2016. South Korea has among the lowest HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate in the world, with just 0.1% of the population being infected, significantly lower than the U.S. at 0.6%, France's 0.4%, and the UK's 0.3% prevalence rate. South Korea ranked highest in influenza vaccination in Asia at 311 vaccines per 1,000 people.
A new measure of expected human capital calculated for 195 countries from 1990 to 2016 and defined for each birth cohort as the expected years lived from age 20 to 64 years and adjusted for educational attainment, learning or education quality, and functional health status was published by the Lancet in September 2018. South Korea had the sixth highest level of expected human capital with 26 health, education, and learning-adjusted expected years lived between age 20 and 64 years. 
Obesity has been consistently among the world's lowest - only 3% of the population were obese, which was the second lowest in the OECD, compared to over 30% in the U.S. or 23% in the UK. As a result, mortality from cardiovascular disease was the fourth lowest in the OECD.
Suicide in South Korea is a serious and widespread problem. The suicide rate was the highest in the OECD in 2012 (29.1 deaths per 100,000 persons). Lithuania is ranked first, but is not an OECD member state as of September 2016.
According to the WHO in 2015, the age standardized prevalence of tobacco smoking in the Republic of South Korea is 49.8%. Starting on January 1, 2015, the Ministry of Health banned smoking in cafés, restaurants, and bars. Facilities, such as government offices, public institutions, public transport facilities and schools have become smoke-free zones. In 1986, the Republic of Korea mandated tobacco manufactures to include warnings on cigarette packages. The violation against the smoke policy include a fine, which is less than 100 thousand won.
According to the World Health Organization, South Koreans rank No. 28 in alcohol consumption over all (2015) and No. 22 in the OECD (2013). According to Euromonitor data, it is number 1 in hard-liquor consumption (2013). Age-standardized death rate of liver cirrhosis for male in South Korea is 20.6% of which 70.5% is attributed to alcohol. Prevalence of alcohol use disorders (including alcohol dependence and harmful use of alcohol) is 10.3% of male in South Korea, more than twice of 4.6% of Western Pacific Region.
An outbreak, MERS occurred in South Korea in May 2015 by a Korean who visited the Middle East and carried the MERS virus to Korea. Seven Months later, the government officially declared that the outbreak is over.
According to the Environmental Performance Index 2016, South Korea ranked 173rd out of 180 countries in terms of air quality. More than 50 percent of the populations in South Korea exposed to dangerous levels of fine dust.
South Korea ranks last place among OECD countries for tuberculosis. Its three major indexes: incidence rate, prevalence rate and death rate are the worst among the OECD countries since 1996 when South Korea became a member of OECD.
|Rank||Incidence rate||Prevalence rate||Death rate|
|1||South Korea||86.0||South Korea||101.0||South Korea||3.8|
According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, chronic illness account for the majority of diseases in South Korea, a condition exacerbated by the health care system’s focus on treatment rather than prevention. The incidence of chronic disease in South Korea hovers around 24 percent. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) rate of prevalence at the end of 2003 was less than 0.1 percent. In 2001 central government expenditures on health care accounted for about 6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). South Korea is experiencing a growing elderly population, which leads to an increase in chronic degenerative diseases. The proportion of the population over 65 is expected to rise from 13% in 2014 to 38% in 2050. Majority of health care professionals treat patients on curative, rather than preventive treatments, because of the lack of financial incentives for preventive treatments.
Unequal distribution of physiciansEdit
There are regional disparities between urban and rural areas for health professionals. The number of primary care doctors in cities is 37.3% higher than rural areas, and the problem is growing because younger physicians are choosing to practice in the cities.
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