Differential Inequity in Health Expectancy by Region in Belgium

Soz Praventivmed. 2005;50(5):301-10. doi: 10.1007/s00038-005-5017-y.


Objectives: To evaluate the size of social inequities in health between regions in Belgium using a composite health measure, the disability free life expectancy (DFLE).

Methods: Mortality data (5-years follow-up of the 1991 census) are combined with the 1997 Health Interview Survey to estimate the DFLE by education. Differences in partial life expectancy25-74 (LE25-74) and in DFLE25-74 between those at the bottom and those at the top of a relative social scale are used to compare the regional inequities.

Results: The higher educated person has a longer LE, with more years free of disability and less years with disability (in years: Flemish males: LE = 46.48; DFLE = 42.08; Walloon males: LE = 44.92; DFLE = 39.80; Flemish females: LE = 47.90; DFLE = 41.93; Walloon females: LE = 46.90; DFLE = 39.84) compared to the population at the bottom of the education hierarchy (in years: Flemish males: LE = 44.86; DFLE = 30.16; Walloon males: LE = 42.77; DFLE = 27.00; Flemish females: LE = 46.86; DFLE = 28.30; Walloon females: LE = 45.44; DFLE = 25.30). The inequity in LE and in DFLE is larger in the Walloon Region than in the Flemish Region. Only the regional difference in inequity in LE is statistically significant.

Conclusion: The DFLE can be used to monitor the size of health inequities.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Belgium
  • Disabled Persons
  • Educational Status*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors