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Differences in Life Expectancy and Disability Free Life Expectancy in Italy. A Challenge to Health Systems

A. Burgio, L. Murianni and P. Folino-Gallo
Social Indicators Research
Vol. 92, No. 1 (May, 2009), pp. 1-11
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27734846
Page Count: 11
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Differences in Life Expectancy and Disability Free Life Expectancy in Italy. A Challenge to Health Systems
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Abstract

Background Measures of health expectancy such as Disability Free Life Expectancy are used to evaluate and compare regional/national health statuses. These indicators are useful for understanding changes in the health status and defining health policies and decisions on the provision of services because provide useful information on possible areas needing interventions and burden of care to health systems. Methods Two databases have been used for the analysis: the Italian Health Interview Survey and the European Community Household Panel. The data were analyzed by gender and geographic area. DFLE was calculated by the Sullivan method. Results In 2005 in Italy women have a longer life expectancy than men: 84 and 78 years, respectively. But if we consider life without disability in Italy the male disadvantage reduces: men live 85% of their years without disability, women only 75%. Geographic differences do exist because Disability Free Life Expectancy is longer in Northern and in Central regions; shorter in the South. At a European level similar data can be found: on average women live longer but they have a longer time of life with disability. Conclusion In Italy women live longer but have a worse quality of health than men; in the South there is a worse quality of health. Similar findings can be identified at a European level. The Italian situation with the highest percentage of DFLE at 65 out of the total LE at 65 and one of the longest LE witnesses ageing is not necessarily associated to a worsening of health.

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