28 d’agost 2015

Healthy life expectancy: the key indicator

Global, regional, and national disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for 306 diseases and injuries and healthy life expectancy (HALE) for 188 countries, 1990–2013: quantifying the epidemiological transition

In former posts I have advocated that healthy life expectancy should be used as an aggregated indicator of outcomes of health determinants. Unfortunately although it is imperfect, it is the best we have, and today you can check the latest estimates in a salient article in The Lancet.

Countries with highest healthy life expectancy, both sexes, 2013
1 Japan
2 Singapore
3 Andorra
4 Iceland
5 Cyprus
6 Israel
7 France
8 Italy
9 South Korea
10 Canada

Spain has disappeared from the former top 10. I have always said that ordinal rankings have flaws, however, comparisons across time are worth taking into account.
Internally in Spain it is difficult to reverse this trend. If you consider geographic variations of the indicator you can see a range from 55 years up to 65 (p.25) .Therefore there is too much noise when you focus on the state as the unit of analysis. Forget the results and the ranking.
The only situation that is unique in the ranking is Andorra, it always appear at the top and it is a small state. That's remarkable and merits close analysis.