Trends in health expectancy in Denmark, 1987-1994

Dan Med Bull. 1998 Apr;45(2):217-21.


Objective: To estimate health expectancy in Denmark and evaluate changes during the period 1987-1994.

Design: Life-table figures from vital statistics combined with prevalence data of population health status derived from the Danish Health Interview Surveys carried out in 1987, 1991, and 1994.

Setting and subjects: The Danish population aged 16 years and over.

Main outcome measures: Health expectancy calculated by Sullivan's method combining mortality and morbidity into a single indicator. This indicator estimates the average lifetime in good health. Relating health expectancy to life expectancy gives a measure of the proportion of lifetime in good health.

Results: Although life expectancy has remained stable since the beginning of the 1980s health expectancy has changed slightly over the period 1987-1994, with a positive trend for men but a negative one for women.

Conclusion: The results underline the concern about the health of Danish women expressed in recent years. Health expectancy could be increased by successful prevention of musculo-skeletal diseases, which account for the highest proportion of lifetime with long-standing illness.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Disabled Persons
  • Female
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy / trends
  • Life Tables*
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution