Navigation path

Themes
Agriculture & food
Energy
Environment
ERA-NET
Health & life sciences
Human resources & mobility
Industrial research
Information society
Innovation
International cooperation
Nanotechnology
Pure sciences
Research infrastructures
Research policy
Science & business
Science in society
Security
SMEs
Social sciences and humanities
Space
Special Collections
Transport

Countries
Countries
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia
  Germany
  Ghana
  Greece
  Hungary
  Iceland
  India
  Indonesia
  Ireland
  Israel
  Italy
  Japan
  Kazakhstan
  Kenya
  Korea
  Latvia
  Lichtenstein
  Lithuania
  Luxembourg
  Madagascar
  Malaysia
  Malta
  Mexico
  Montenegro
  Morocco
  Namibia
  Netherlands
  Nigeria
  Norway
  Panama
  Peru
  Poland
  Portugal
  Romania
  Russia
  Senegal
  Serbia
  Slovakia
  Slovenia
  South Africa
  Spain
  Sri Lanka
  Swaziland
  Sweden
  Switzerland
  Taiwan
  Tanzania
  Thailand
  Tunisia
  Turkey
  Uganda
  Ukraine
  United Kingdom
  United States
  Vietnam


This page was published on 08/01/2009
Published: 08/01/2009

   Health

Last Update: 08-01-2009  
Related category(ies):
Health & life sciences

 

Add to PDF "basket"

Study shows good health and growing old disparities in EU

European researchers have conducted a study which showed that while life expectancy is increasing in the EU Member States, living longer is not always synonymous with ageing well. Another mystery they unveiled is at what age a person will live to in good health. The findings, recently published in The Lancet journal, showed that men live on average without health problems up to 67 years of age and women up to 69 years. Past studies showed that the mean life expectancy in the EU was 78 years for men and 83 years for women in 2005.

European men live on average without health problems up to 67 years © Shutterstock
European men live on average without health problems up to 67 years
© Shutterstock

Dr Jean-Marie Robine from the French Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) led the study which was within the scope of the European Health Expectancy Monitoring Unit (EHEMU).

Concerned about public health, industrialised countries have expressed their wish to see improvements in the quality of life of older people. Problems like dementia and heart disease increase with age. So while life expectancy has increased over the years, researchers must still determine whether good health influences how many extra years people have to live.

For this study, the researchers used an indicator based on the health status of men and women who were over 50 years old.

Participants of the study were asked about the difficulties they encounter when dealing with their everyday activities, or the ease with which they carry them out. These activities were monitored over a six-month period and included household tasks (e.g. cooking, cleaning) and going to work.

The researchers found that European men live on average without health problems up to 67 years and women up to 69 years. The results also showed strong disparities between the EU Member States. Estonia reported the lowest mean value for men (59 years) and women (61 years), while for Denmark, the numbers were 73 years for men and 74 years for women. In France, the mean average was 68 years for men and 69 years and 8 months for women.

The team said their findings were correlated with the gross domestic product (GDP) of the Member States and the average health expenditure on the elderly. Generally, there was a strong correlation between high GDP and expenditure in health with the better health of people over the age of 50. The research also showed that men who were unemployed for 12 months or more, had a low level of education or had only attended a few years of school reported fewer healthy life years.

The researchers found even greater disparities when the last 10 Member States to have acceded into the EU were assessed independently. The majority of these States recorded retirement ages that are either greater or equal to the average age to which the people can hope to live without health problems.

'Without an improvement in the state of health of older people, it will be difficult to raise the retirement age in certain EU countries,' the researchers said.

Besides INSERM, the research team consisted of the Scientific Institute of Public Health (Belgium), the Institute for Demographic Studies (France), the Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam (the Netherlands) and the University of Leicester (UK).


Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


loading


Search articles

Notes:
To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use this search box rather than the one at the top of the page.

After searching, you can expand the results to include the whole Research and Innovation web site, or another section of it, or all Europa, afterwards without searching again.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also

EHEMU
INSERM





  Top   Research Information Center