September 28, 2020

Determinants of change in life expectancy

Contributions Of Public Health, Pharmaceuticals, And Other Medical Care To US Life Expectancy Changes, 1990-2015

Life expectancy in the US increased 3.3 years between 1990 and 2015, but the drivers of this increase are not well understood. We used vital statistics data and cause-deletion analysis to identify the conditions most responsible for changing life expectancy and quantified how public health, pharmaceuticals, other (nonpharmaceutical) medical care, and other/unknown factors contributed to the improvement. We found that twelve conditions most responsible for changing life expectancy explained 2.9 years of net improvement (85 percent of the total). Ischemic heart disease was the largest positive contributor to life expectancy, and accidental poisoning or drug overdose was the largest negative contributor. Forty-four percent of improved life expectancy was attributable to public health, 35 percent was attributable to pharmaceuticals, 13 percent was attributable to other medical care, and −7 percent was attributable to other/unknown factors. Our findings emphasize the crucial role of public health advances, as well as pharmaceutical innovation, in explaining improving life expectancy.

 A must read article. This is the kind of messages that can inform policymakers and redefine priorities. Unfortunately, there is no similar study for my country.

PS. If you want the same study over two centurys, check here

Vaquero at Marlborough