Recent perspectives on active life expectancy for older women

J Women Aging. 2002;14(1-2):163-84. doi: 10.1300/J074v14n01_11.


This article provides a critical review of recent active life expectancy literature, describing trends of special interest to women. We review findings from leading perspectives used to study life expectancy and active life expectancy, including gender, racial and socioeconomic differences, disease-specific effects, and biodemography. We examine three competing theories of population health that frame active life expectancy research-compression of morbidity, expansion of morbidity, and dynamic equilibrium-concluding there is support for both the compression of morbidity and dynamic equilibrium theories. Policy implications for women include a greater understanding of the role of education and racial and ethnic diversity in active life trends, and an increased public policy emphasis on prevention and treatment of chronic disease, together with adoption of more healthy lifestyles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Female
  • Health Policy
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy*
  • Morbidity
  • Population Dynamics
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Women's Health*