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A Single Index of Mortality and Morbidity

Daniel F. Sullivan
HSMHA Health Reports
Vol. 86, No. 4 (Apr., 1971), pp. 347-354
DOI: 10.2307/4594169
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4594169
Page Count: 8
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
A Single Index of Mortality and Morbidity
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Abstract

The National Center for Health Statistics is considering several techniques for combining mortality and morbidity rates into a single index, which might provide a more adequate measure of changes over time in the nation's health status. A technique which weights life table values according to disability time experienced at each age level and produces measures of expectation of life free of disability and expectation of disability is described. Results are presented using two alternative measures of disability time experienced by a population during a year. The two measures are (a) the total volume of disability, which encompasses all forms of long-term and short-term disability, and (b) bed disability, which includes only periods of institutional confinement and noninstitutional disability involving bed confinement. Expectation of disability-free lifetime was about 65 years in the United States in the mid-1960's, compared with a conventional life expectancy of about 70 years. The expected lifetime duration of all forms of disability was approximately 5 years, 2 years of which reflected disability before age 65, and 3 years was disability experienced by persons older than 65. Differences between males and females in expectation of disability are not great, but differences between whites and other persons are substantial and favorable to whites. Expectation of life free of bed disability was about 68 years, and expectation of bed disability was approximately 2 years. Of the 2 years expected bed disability, persons 65 and over account for over 1 year. Differences between males and females in expectation of bed disability are noticeable and favorable to males. Differences between whites and other persons, however, are not substantial.

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