The relationship between longevity and healthy life expectancy

Jean‐Marie Robine (Sciences and Humanities, Nihon University Advanced Research Institute, Tokyo)
Yasuhiko Saito (Sciences and Humanities, Nihon University Advanced Research Institute, Tokyo)
Carol Jagger (Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester, UK)

Quality in Ageing and Older Adults

ISSN: 1471-7794

Publication date: 14 June 2009

Abstract

What is the relationship between longevity and health? Health expectancies were developed more than 30 years ago specifically to answer this question. It may therefore be the time to try to answer this question, though it is worth noting that the question implies a unidirectional relationship. Almost no one questions the positive association between health and longevity. It is expected that healthy, robust people will live, on average, longer than frail people. This heterogeneity in terms of robustness/frailty may explain the shape of the mortality trajectory with age, ie. the oldest old seem to follow a lower mortality schedule (Vaupel et al, 1979). On the other hand, many people wonder about the relationship between longevity and health. Are we living longer because we are in better health? Are we living longer in good health? Or are we merely surviving longer whatever our health status? In other words, can we live in good health as long as we can survive? And this is exactly the purpose of health expectancies: monitoring how long people live in various health statuses (Sanders, 1964; Sullivan, 1971; Robine et al, 2003a).

Keywords

Citation

Robine, J., Saito, Y. and Jagger, C. (2009), "The relationship between longevity and healthy life expectancy", Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 5-14. https://doi.org/10.1108/14717794200900012

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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