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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Longer life but at what cost

I am always crowing on about the effects of lengthening life expectancy but this research from Japan was a real wake-up call (Trends in healthy life expectancy in Japan: 1986 – 2004).

The research examines the increasing life expectancy of Japanese men and women in relation to their health from 1986 to 2004. The researchers computed healthy life expectancy for seven available time-points for both sexes and at all ages.

The results showed that the gains in life expectancy prior to 1995 were mostly in years of good self-rated health, while the gains thereafter were in years of poor self-rated health. The exception was for women at age 85 (see chart), among whom there was an almost continuous increase in the number of years in poor health.

I reckon that Japan is probably more likely to keep it citizens in good health than a lot of Western European countries also Japan has not been stricken by the ravages of obesity, unlike the US and UK.

My guess is that the data for the UK would show that even less time is spent in ‘Good’ health.

So, from a marketers point of view – just look at the opportunity for products and services that inject a higher proportion of ‘Good’ life expectancy. Dick Stroud

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