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Health expectancy, a more realistic indicator
Date:7/3/2012

"The increase in life expectancy has traditionally been a good rsum of a population's state of health. But the profile of diseases has changed: now there is a great prevalence of specific disorders that are not life-threatening yet are very incapacitating," points out Unai Martn. In other words, life expectancy is no longer the only indicator to be taken into consideration: for example, it is not possible to speak of wellbeing if one lives longer but if one is ill or dependent during that extra time. This sociologist of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) says it is more realistic to ask: how many years can we expect to live free of incapacity and/or in good health? He has studied how the population in the Basque Autonomous Community (BAC) has evolved, and what its current state is in this respect. His thesis is entitled: Salud y desigualdades sociales en salud en la C.A. del Pas Vasco en el cambio de siglo: una visin desde las esperanzas de salud (Health and social inequalities in health in the Basque Autonomous Community in the new century: a vision from the health expectancy perspective).

In actual fact, it is a matter of integrating the mortality rate and health quality into a single index. To do this, Martn has in this research consulted three sources of data focussing on the BAC: data on death (1989-2008); population censuses (1991, 1996, 2001 and 2006); and the last four health surveys (1992, 1997, 2002 and 2007) conducted by the BAC Government.

Progress is slowing down

As the thesis explains, the evolution in the state of health of the Basque population has been positive until now. However, the most recent data indicate that this evolution has slowed down. Martn warns that it is necessary to be on the alert in this respect: "In the data in the BAC, in the first three periods studied, there is a compression of morbidity and the years of life gained are accompanied by better health. But in the last pe
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Contact: Amaia Portugal
a.portugal@elhuyar.com
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Elhuyar Fundazioa
Source:Eurekalert

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